Writing / Writing Life

The Hero’s Journey

As I’ve mentioned previously one of the main reasons I started this blog was as a vehicle to get me writing on a regular basis. This implies there is a WIP (that Work In Progress to the uninitiated). Yes there is. There are a few ideas being kicked around that might make it into something but there is a definite WIP.

I’m not saying too much about it other than it’s YA and it’s Sci-Fi. (For those who know me that shouldn’t really be a surprise – angst and aliens = yay!)

So with all the preamble out of the way here’s what i’ve been thinking about. The WIP is a bit stuck. I know the main arc of what happens and I know the end. I also know some of the key things that happen along the way including something that hopefully no one will see coming and will shock the reader.

It’s been stuck for a little while and I couldn’t work out that missing middle section that seems to be tripping me up. You see, I need to understand what the story that I am telling is before I can really write it. Scenes sure. I can write some of the scenes but I get a couple of pages and get stuck. I’ve been struggling to work out why.

Recently I had an epiphany. Now I know what the problem is. I still have actually solved it but now I really understand why I am stuck. It’s because I dont know the hero’s journey.

What is that you ask?

The hero’s journey is the core outline of many stories. If you want to understand what it entails try here. Many movies for example use this archetypical adventure – Lord of the Rings is an obvious example but it can apply to contemporary based works too.

However, what I mean for my purposes is not a formula to follow but rather what is the personal journey my protagonist goes on? Oh I have the physical journey but how does she change and grow? What lesson/s does she learn. How is she changed from the person she was at the start of the story by the end of the journey?
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I don’t know these things and until I do, I dont really understand my story.

Annoyingly I do understand the journeys the secondary characters take, one of them in particular. But my hero? (or heroine in this case) I have no idea.

So I have some work ahead of me, figuring it out. Oh I can world build and I can flesh out the characters and I can work on my story arcs but until I know what the core of my story is I’ll remain stuck.

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2 thoughts on “The Hero’s Journey

  1. Do you know where the hero/heroine is supposed to physically end up? You say you can see the endings and journeys of the companions (love that DW word 🙂 ) – the best way to understand your main protagonist is to see how he/she fits into the lives and psyche of the secondaries. You can develop the myriad exterior views of your protagonist through the insights that your secondaries will of have of this person. Use this to help flesh out the emotional and mental journey of your chosen hero/heroine.

    And when all else fails – wing it! Fish & custard 😉

    • so you are saying use the companions journeys and their interlock with the heroine to help me work out the heroines own inner journey? Very interesting and it might just work! i’ll give it a go! thanks.

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