Thursday, May 8, 2008

Making the Hero's Journey Work for You! (and by you, I mean me)

You'd think that, considering I'm an English teacher who has taught her students about the Hero's Journey and how it applies to Gilgamesh and Theseus for, oh, 8 semesters and roughly 700 students, I'd have thought about how it applies to my own novel.

But noooooo.

Thanks again to PJ Hoover for putting her version on the web. I've been stuck around page 80 in my current WIP for awhile now, so I've decided that I need to do some sort out outlining or something in order to get it going! I've invested too much time, thought, and energy to abandon these characters (and I'm dying to find out what happens to them!).

So I'm trying out the Hero's Journey outline.

I realized that I've gotten all the way through Act I, with a tentative doorway of no return.

ACT ONE:
  • Introduce the Hero's World: Check. Regular teenage world with a magical twist.
  • Call to adventure: Check. Regular teenage girl wants in on that magic thing.
  • Hero may ignore call...but she won't.
  • Hero crosses threshold into a dark world: Check. Girl realizes that magic has a price.
DOORWAY OF NO RETURN: Lead is thrust into main conflict in a way that keeps him there.
  • Maybe. Kinda. My girl becomes determined to participate in magic in order to help someone else, and she's not going to give up and forget about this goal. So, yeah, I've got a doorway. Sorta.
So onto the real work.

I've got some vague ideas for Act II, the second doorway, and Act III. But they are very vague. I'm having the most trouble, I think, with Act II--various encounters with forces of darkness. I kinda-sorta know that the girls is going to be gradually exposed to darker and darker magic, but how I'll show that...that's where I'm lost.

Even if this hasn't completely solved my writer's block, it has at least helped me identify what I need to focus on. I've got my heroine a good third of the way through the journey--I've just got to figure out how to torture her and raise the stakes a bit more :)
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