Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Christmas Greetings from North Carolina! I can still say Merry Christmas because today is the 4th Day of Christmas! I'm at my brother's house in Fayetteville, which is quite a ways from New Jersey. A bit warmer, too. :)

I hope your Christmas celebration was joyful and memorable. Truly, it's amazing to me that God pushed aside his glory just enough to let humanity in. How much He loves us!

There's no new topic today - just wishes for a blessed and happy 2010. We'll review The Hero's Journey briefly next week and then will be off on new topics. I'm looking forward to more great discussion on the wonderful world of fantasy writing!

Thanks for participating. I am blessed and encouraged by each one of you!
pam <><

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?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Road Back

Sorry I'm posting late again. Getting my Christmas sewing done is making me crazy! But in a good way. :) We are almost done The Hero's Journey and will finish up next week. Then we'll start something new in January.

The Road Back
Just when you thought you were done ... your hero is not out of the woods yet. Now he has to deal with the consequences of confronting the dark forces of the Supreme Ordeal. If he hasn't managed to reconcile with the dark forces, they may come raging after him. And he has a choice to make; does he return back to the starting point or does he continue on the journey to a new location/destination?

This is where your story's energy can be revved up again. The Road Back marks a time when the hero rededicates himself to the adventure. It's a turning point that marks the beginning of the end of your book. It can be another moment of crisis that sets the hero on a new and final road of trials.

This is where the antagonist retaliates. What the hero "throws down" in a chase (to trick or hinder the persuing enemy) may represent a sacrifice or the leaving behind of something of value. Or the enemy may steal the treasure or kidnap an ally.

Not every book deals with this part of The Hero's Journey, but I'm thinking there may be a little of it in every story. And there are many ways to handle it. How are you dealing with The Road Back?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Reward

Sorry for the last post. It's been a crazy week and it's only Wednesday!

The Reward
This is also called, "seizing the sword." Having beaten death, the dragon, the dark lord, whatever you can come with, the hero now takes possession of the treasure he or she has come seeking. It might be a weapon or token or some elixir which can heal the wounded land. It can be an epiphany or self-realization.

This is almost always a time where the hero is recognized or rewarded for having survived the great ordeal. There can be a celebration, a campfire scene where everyone reviews recent events or even a love scene, where the hero finally gets together with their true love.

But it's essential the hero takes possession of whatever they came seeking after. Some heroes "purchase" the treasure, buying it with their lives or the willingness to rise their life. Some steal the it. The prize is not always given, even if it has been paid for or earned. It must be taken.

How can we handle this in a satisfying way for our readers?