Monday, November 2, 2009

Crash Course on Craft: The Hero’s Journey Part 4

Decisions: The axis upon which story turns.

Sure things can happen to the protagonists, but their decisions (preferably the kind that makes things worse) are ultimately what drive a story. After all, we were created with a will. We want the freedom to choose. Characters need the same, or they won’t seem real.

That’s where the First Threshold comes in. If the storyteller has done his job properly, the disturbance to the character’s world (the Call) has grown so major that, by the end of the first quarter of the story, the character must deal with the problem. He cannot go with the flow any longer or simply be acted upon. He must choose and act.

Ideally, whatever he chooses must forever alter his life, which is why this stage is also known as the Point of No Return. There will be no going back to what was before without devastating consequences and shattered dreams—if he can go back at all.

So what will the hero choose? Is he in or out? Will she tackle the problem head-on or run? Who cares? Just as long as the hero makes the choice! Then things really start hopping.

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