Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Hero's Inner Journey

Chris Vogler felt that there was more to a hero’s story than just the adventure and acquisition of his prize. Sometimes the hero is conflicted between what he wants from the world around him, i.e., the prize, and what he needs from within himself. Vogler described the resolution of this conflict as the Hero’s Inner Journey.

1. Limited awareness of problem — The Hero begins to realize he has an emotional problem.
2. Increased awareness of need for change — Circumstances force the Hero to recognize his need to change.
3. Fear; Resistance to Change — At first, the Hero denies this awareness.
4. Overcoming Fear — His need overrides his fear.
5. Committing to Change — He makes a fateful decision.
6. Experimenting with New Conditions — An internal period of trial and error.
7. Preparing for major change — This is part of the Plan.
8. Big change with feeling of life and death — This is the Climax.
9. Accepting consequences of new life — Almost all conflict is resolved.
10. New challenge and re-dedication — Becoming accustomed to a new way of life.
11. Final attempts - last minute danger — Dealing with final conflict.
12. Mastery

The following graphic shows how Vogler’s Inner and Outer journeys are intertwined with the standard format of the three-act play.

This is the last character development exercise I use in my Scrivener template. However, I recommend doing whatever brainstorming necessary to truly understand your main characters before writing your novel.

For example, in my current work-in-progress, I’ve decided to develop a teenage detective who is neuro-atypical as a result of a traumatic brain injury incurred during a car accident. In order to better understand the character, I wrote a 22,000 word prequel where I explained the accident, her resulting injuries, how she recovered enough to return to daily life and how she dealt with the five stages of grief. My point is that you should do whatever works to become intimately familiar with your characters.

In my next blog post I’ll take a look at settings and how to develop them.

All of the brainstorming exercises described in this blog series can be found in my Scrivener template on Google Drive at
For non-scrivener users, Personal Noveling Assistant (PNA) pages are at

For more about my stories, check out my author page at

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