Monday, December 21, 2009

Return With The Elixir

Here is where the hero returns to the Ordinary World, but the journey is meanlingless if he doesn't bring back some kind of treasure or lesson from the Special World. It might be a magic potion with the power to heal or a great treasure like the Grail that magically heals the wounded land. Or it might simply be knowledge or experience that could be useful to the community someday. The Elixir may be a treasure won on the quest or it could be love, freedom, wisdom or the knowledge the Special World exists and can be survived. Sometimes it's coming home with a good story to tell.

We Seekers come home at last, purged, purified and bearing the fruits of our journey ... There will be other adventures, but this one is complete, and as it ends, it brings deep healing, wellness and wholeness to our world. The Seekers have come Home.

There are two branches to the end of the Hero's Journey; the circular form, in which there is a sense of closure and completion. And the "other" way; an open-ended approach, which there is a sense of unanswered questions, ambiguities and unresolved conflicts.

The Return can fall flat is everything is resolved too neatly or just as expected. A good Return should untie the plot threads, but with a certain amount of surprise; a little taste of the unexpected or a sudden revelation.

A special job of the Return is to hand out final rewards and punishments. It's part of restoring balance to the world of the story, giving a sense of completion. Punishment should fit the crime and have the quality of poetic justice.

Many stories fall apart in the final moments, so we have to be careful how we handle this all important part of the story. We've taken our readers on a fine adventure. Nothing is worse than a bad ending. How are you handling this part of your story?


  1. Thank you for this series! I've only been following your blog for a couple of weeks, but this series has been a source of great reminders. I'm currently coming towards the end of writing the first draft of my first novel (goal date for completion is Dec. 31) and your posts have given me good points to keep in mind as I wrap up the adventure!
    Thank you.

  2. And they all live HAPPILY EVER AFTER!!!!

    Heehee :)

    Jane's elixer is getting to go home and saving everyone. YAY!

  3. hi Mary! Thanks for joining us. I look forward to your comments.

    I haven't written the end of Fairyeater, but I have it plotted out. Akeela doesn't exactly return with an elixir - the elixir is herself. I struggled with a couple different endings, but I think I know which way I want to go with it. I've taken December off from writing to get Christmas sewing completed and am now ready to get back into Akeela's world. I'm very close to being done and am anxious to write those blessed words: The End. :)