Monday, October 26, 2009

Tests, Allies and Enemies

Once your hero begins his/her adventure, they will naturally encounter new challenges or TESTS. They'll make ALLIES and ENEMIES. And they'll begin to learn all the rules of the quest/special world. This allows for character development as your hero and other characters react to stress, set backs, new friends, facing the enemy, etc. This is also a place to introduce a side-kick, if you already haven't.

The hero can encounter all these things throughout the story.

As we know, in fiction, we want tension and conflict - something to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Things that will make the reader stay up late to read "just one more chapter." The things we hate in real life, we seem to love in books or movies. I think we like seeing how things resolve.

So, let's talk about tests, allies and enemies. What kind of things does your hero encounter? How much trouble should we throw at our characters? We don't want to beat them to a bloody pulp, right? So, we want to give them times of fun and rest.

It's a balance, and it's our job to make it happen without everything falling apart.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Crossing the First Threshold

This happens when the hero finally says yes to the quest and fully enters the Special World of the story for the first time. He agrees to face whatever needs facing with the problem or challenge of the Call to Adventure. This is where your story takes off. You've set up the Ordinary World and introduced the main character, mentor and other important characters.

This doesn't mean your hero can't turn back. At this point, they can. But there's no reason to right now. The hero often feels condfident and ready to tackle anything.

How are you handling this part of your story? Are you leaving the reader feeling as confident as the hero or have you written in some kind of menacing threat, ever so slightly?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Mentor

I've been away for the long weekend. It was a good weekend with a writing friend. But I'm home now, so, let's continue talking about The Hero's Journey.

By the time the hero is at the refusal point in the story, along comes a Merlin-like character who is the hero's MENTOR. The relationship between hero and Mentor is one of the most common themes in mythology and one of the richest in symbolic value, especially for Christian writers.

The Mentor may appear in many forms; an old man or woman, a parent, a pastor, a boss, a friend. The purpose of the Mentor is to prepare the hero for the unknown or quest. They may give advice or some kind of talisman or weapon before setting the hero free.

Sometimes, the Mentor comes back into the hero's life if the hero needs a push.

So, what do you think? Does every hero need a Mentor? If a hero doesn't have a Mentor, where do they get their knowledge, advice or encouragement? In my WIP, my heroine, Akeela, has a couple of mentors. One dies, one can't be with her once she starts her quest. I want Akeela to be able to figure out some things on her own. It gives me a chance to write in her mistakes and show her weakness. It also enables me to allow her to overcome.

If we are using a Mentor, we don't want that person to do everything for the hero. It would make the story boring and predictable. How are you using a Mentor?

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Reluctant Hero

REFUSAL OF THE CALL (or the reluctant hero) is typically the next step in The Hero's Journey. The hero learns something about herself or about some kind of quest he has to complete and it isn't something they want to do. They may feel fear, unbelief or apathy. But then something happens to make them change their minds and they are willing to start on the adventure.

This is typical. Ordinary. But it seems to work. Human nature (or whatever nature you are writing about) most always hesitates unless they are motivated. For myself, I need to know WHY I'm being asked to do something that doesn't make sense to me.

How are you handling your hero's REFUSAL OF THE CALL? Have you found a nice twist so that it's not your regular, I don't wanna go . . . okay, changed my mind, guess I'll go.