Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Hero's Journey

In 1949, American comparative mythology scholar, Joseph Campbell, published The Hero With a Thousand Faces. In it he introduced the concept of the monomyth. He observed that throughout classical literature, especially ancient Greek mythology, a pattern existed in the development of the main characters. He called it the Hero’s Journey. Even if your main character is not a classical hero, you may benefit from working through this character development exercise. If nothing else, it will help you develop a story arc for your character. In the best case, it may form the basis for your plot outline.
It goes something like this:

ACT I: Departure

1. Call to Adventure

2. Refusal of the Call

3. Meeting the Mentor

4. Crossing the Threshold to the Special World

5. The Belly of the Whale

ACT II: Initiation

6. The Road of Trials

7. The Meeting with the Goddess

8. Woman as Temptress

9. Atonement with the Father

10. Apotheosis

11. Reward, Seizing the Sword

ACT III: Return

12. Refusal of the Return

13. The Magic Flight

14. Rescue from Without

15. Crossing the Return Threshold

16. Master of Two Worlds

17. Return with Elixir

In my next blog post I’ll dissect each step in Campbell’s monomyth. Using this outline to develop your characters is a good way to really get to know them better. I believe that the antagonist of a story is often someone who took the hero’s journey but didn’t finish it successfully. Try brainstorming this outline with your major villain to see where he failed.
Keep writing, remember, Nanowrimo is just three months away!


No comments:

Post a Comment