Monday, January 4, 2010

Crash Course on Craft: Hero’s Journey Review, Part 2

Two weeks ago I outlined the first half of the Hero’s Journey, providing examples from Star Wars and While You Were Sleeping. But of course, the first threshold is only the start of the journey, and the characters still have some distance to go yet:

Tests, Allies & Enemies: A period of preparation for the protagonist. Here he learns the rules of the “new” world, gains allies, makes enemies, and often passes through three tests.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Luke try to return the plans to Princess Leia’s home planet. An example of a test (and making allies) would be booking passage on the Millennium Falcon.
While You Were Sleeping: Lucy’s attempts to integrate herself with Peter’s family and proving to Jack she is Peter’s fiancé.

Approach to the Cave: Seeking a certain prize, protagonist heads into “enemy territory.”
Star Wars: The Millennium Falcon is pulled aboard the Death Star.
While You Were Sleeping: Peter wakes up from the coma.

Cave: Second high point (first being the 1st Threshold), protagonist faces off enemy and obtains prize—often at a great price.
Star Wars: Luke and friends escape Death Star. The prize is Princess Leia and the plans. The price is Obi-Wan’s life.
While You Were Sleeping: Peter proposes to Lucy. The prize is marriage to the “perfect man” she dreamed of and being made an official part of the family. The price is the severing of her budding relationship with Jack.

Return: The protagonist returns to a familiar world—and yet not.
Star Wars: Luke prepares to attack the Death Star, depending on his skills as a pilot.
While You Were Sleeping: Lucy prepares for her dream wedding—and yet feels as alone as ever (her ordinary world), knowing she lives a lie.

Death and Resurrection (Climax): At the story’s highest point, the protagonist faces a decision that may cost everything desired.
Star Wars: Luke must choose whether to rely on the Force. He chooses the Force, escapes Darth Vader, and destroys the Death Star.
While You Were Sleeping: Lucy must choose between Peter and his family (her external goal)—or honest and her love for Jack, whom she believes doesn’t want her. Her announcement at the wedding loses and hurts the family she’s come to love, but Jack’s proposal resurrects that dream.

Elixir: Protagonist gains heart’s desire, whether or not external goal is reached (at least in a heroic hero, opposed to the loss of a tragic hero.)
Star Wars: Luke has made a difference, helping to temporarily defeat an evil empire, and earned respect desired.
While You Were Sleeping: Lucy loses her original goal (Peter), but gains a man who has taken the time to know her (e.g. her desire to travel) and a family who has unconditionally accepted her as one of them.

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