Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Writer's Journey

By Debby Giusti

I hope you’re rejoicing in this beautiful Easter season of resurrection, new life, baby chicks and flowers in bloom. We’ve survived SPEEDBO.  Many of us have manuscripts to revise or portions of a story to complete so I thought it might be beneficial to take a look at the twelve stages of the hero’s journey Christopher Vogler presents in his book, The Writer’s Journey.

You may recall my February 15, 2017 blog entitled, “The Mentor's Role in The Hero's Journey,” where I talked about Joseph Campbell, a writer, professor and mythologist, born at the beginning of the 20th Century. In case you’ve forgotten, Campbell studied mythology extensively and deduced that all myths, whether passed down as oral tradition or written expression, contain the same basic format. That format—or template, if you will--is found worldwide, and is common in the stories from all cultures, tribes, peoples, races and nationalities. He named the structure “The Hero’s Journey” and published his findings, in 1949, in a book entitled, The Hero With a Thousand Faces. 

In the 1980s, Hollywood story analyst Christopher Vogler studied Campbell’s work and instantly connected with “The Hero’s Journey” and the mythical elements found in all stories. After accepting a job with Walt Disney Company, Vogler penned a seven-page memo, which he titled “A Practical Guide to The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” The memo circulated through Disney and then traveled to other Hollywood studios as more and more people recognized the value of Vogler's formula for successful story creation. Eventually, Vogler expanded that first memo into a book called The Writer’s Journey, which provides a more in-depth look at the mythical structure. 



Let’s take a look at the stages Vogler presents in The Writer’s Journey:

The Twelve Stages of the Hero’s Journey

The Ordinary World

Each story should start in the hero’s ordinary world. We need to see the hero in his own world before he embarks on his adventure. In today’s face-paced fiction, we sometimes only have a glimpse of that ordinary life for a paragraph or two, but even with only a short introductory narrative, we can get an idea of the hero’s surroundings and the way he lives before the real action begins. Remember to provide a glimpse into your hero or heroine’s world at the beginning of your story, but don’t remain there long because the reader is eager for the action to begin.
Example: Think of Belle walking through her small town at the opening of the movie, Beauty and the Beast.
Vogler writes: “If you’re going to show a fish out of his customary element, you first have to show him in that Ordinary World to create a vivid contrast with the strange new world he is about to enter.”

The Call to Adventure

This is the inciting incident. A problem is presented to the hero that will send him out of his ordinary world and into a new adventure. In a romance, this is where the hero meets the annoying heroine or is forced to work with her on a project
Example: A bank robbery propels our hero cop into an investigation to find the robbers and solve the case.
Vogler writes: “The Call to Adventure establishes the stakes of the game, and makes clear the hero’s goal: to win the treasure or the lover, to get revenge or right a wrong, to achieve a dream, confront a challenge or change a life.”

Refusal of the Call (The Reluctant Hero)

Often the hero is afraid to charge forward or isn’t eager to accept the call to adventure. Instead, he wants to remain within his ordinary world.
Example: In a romance, the heroine may be hesitant to get involved with the handsome hero because she’s been jilted or left at the altar.
Vogler writes: “The hero has not yet fully committed to the journey and may still be thinking of turning back. Some other influence—a change in circumstances, a further offense against the natural order of things, or the encouragement of a Mentor—is required to get her past this turning point of fear.”

Mentor (The Wise Old man or Woman)

The mentor—best friend, teacher, parent, old sage—encourages the hero to accept the call. He provides guidance and may even equip the hero for the adventure.
Example: Think Lou Grant in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Vogler writes: “The Mentor can only go so far with the hero. Eventually, the hero must face the unknown alone.”

Crossing the First Threshold

The hero enters into the adventure. From this point, there is no turning back.
Example: In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy sets out on the Yellow Brick Road.
Vogler writes: “Movies are often built in three acts, which can be regarded as representing 1) the hero’s decision to act, 2) the action itself, and 3) the consequences of the action. The First Threshold marks the turning point between Acts One and Two.”

Tests, Allies and Enemies

The hero faces escalating problems and challenges. Friends offer support and help; enemies cause harm. It is at this stage that the hero begins to learn the rules of the special world he is about to enter.
Example: In “The Karate Kid,” Mr. Miyagi trains Daniel in martial arts.
Vogler writes: “Countless Westerns take the hero to a saloon where his manhood and determination are tested, and where friends and villains are introduced. Bars are also useful to the hero for obtaining information, for learning the new rules that apply to the Special World.” 

Approach to the Inmost Cave

The hero nears the dangerous place and may pause here to prepare for battle.
Example: In military movies, the hero and his company of soldiers will pause before the battle to prepare for the mission.
Vogler writes: “When the hero enters the fearful place he will cross the second major threshold. Heroes often pause at the gate to prepare, plan and outwit the villain’s guards.” 

The Supreme Ordeal

The hero must confront his greatest fear and is caught in a life-or-death battle with antagonistic forces. In a romance, this is the black moment when it seems that the hero and heroine will never get together again.
Example: In “E.T.,” the alien appears to die on the operating table.
Vogler writes: “Every story needs such a life or death moment in which the hero or his goals are in mortal jeopardy.” 

Reward (Seizing the Sword)

The hero has survived the ordeal and takes possession of the reward, the magic elixir, needed knowledge or some type of prized treasure. Personal conflicts are reconciled at this point as well.
Example: In “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy escapes from the Wicked Witch’s castle with the broomstick and ruby slippers.
Vogler writes: “In many [romance] stories the loved one is the treasure the hero has come to win or rescue, and there is often a love scene at this point to celebrate the victory.” 

The Road Back

The hero is chased by the antagonistic forces. He again must battle evil as he tries to return home. This occurs at the beginning of Act Three.
Example: Elliott and E.T. escape in the moonlight bike scene.
Vogler writes: “Some of the best chase scenes spring up at this point, as the hero is pursued on The Road Back by the vengeful forces she has disturbed by seizing the sword, the elixir or the treasure.” 

Resurrection

Another life and death moment as the hero battles evil.
Example: The final battle scene in Star Wars when Luke is almost killed, appears to be dead and then miraculously survives.
Vogler writes: “The hero is transformed by these moments of death-and-rebirth, and is able to return to ordinary life reborn as a new being with new insights.” 

Return with the Elixir

The hero returns to the Ordinary World, but he must bring back some treasure, whether new knowledge or something concrete.
Example: Dorothy returns to Kansas knowing she is loved and that “There’s no place like home.”
Vogler writes: “Unless something is brought back from the ordeal in the Inmost Cave, the hero is doomed to repeat the adventure. Many comedies use this ending, as a foolish character refuses to learn his lesson and embarks on the same folly that got him in trouble in the first place.”
  

A final caveat from Vogler’s website: “Following the guidelines of myth too rigidly can lead to a stiff, unnatural structure, and there is the danger of being too obvious.  The hero myth is a skeleton that should be masked with the details of the individual story, and the structure should not call attention to itself.  The order of the hero’s stages as given here is only one of many variations – the stages can be deleted, added to, and drastically re-shuffled without losing any of their power.

Can you see any ways to use the twelves stages of The Hero’s Journey in your own stories? Do you recognize the various stages in the movies you love to watch? Has this overview provided inspiration or confusion?

Breakfast is served: Hot cross buns and hard boiled eggs dyed in an assortment of colors, fresh fruit and sausage. The coffee is hot. So is the tea. Enjoy!

Leave a comment to be entered in three drawings. Each winner will receive a copy of AMISH REFUGE, my May release and the first book in my Amish Protectors series from Love Inspired Suspense. The winners will also receive a copy of another May release that features my story, PLAIN DANGER, and THE SHEPHERD’S BRIDE, by Patricia Davids.

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,

Debby Giusti
Check out the new look: 


AMISH REFUGE
By Debby Giusti

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT

Miriam Miller barely escapes the ruthless attacker that killed her mother and kidnapped her sister. Running deeper into the woods, she’s running out of hope…until she falls into the arms of an unlikely bodyguard—a peaceful Amish farmer. Something about Abram Zook inspires her trust, but even in bucolic Willkommen, Georgia, Miriam faces danger. Both from the men pursuing her and from her growing feelings for the caring—though guarded— widower who protects her. Because if she falls for Abram she’ll have to embrace his Amish faith as her own—or lose him. With each minute, her abductor creeps closer, pushing Miriam to an inevitable choice: stay and risk her heart…or leave and risk her life. 
Preorder HERE

127 comments :

  1. Hi Debby! Great post and I just commented on yesterdays about how I love to learn all the ways an author develops their characters. Giving them different personalities, quirks & idiosyncrasies to make them uniquely "them".

    I especially like the mentor-type you mentioned here. I love your example of "Karate Kid" where Mr Miyagi is an excellent mentor to Daniel. Teaching him the skills needed but at the same time encouraging him to go out on his own when he feels he's ready. When I read a book with this similar theme, I love seeing an older man or woman being a mentor to the hero or heroine. Encouraging them, prodding them on to reach for higher goals or letting them know they can do more than they think they can. I've had a few women friends like that in my life & it sure helped me grow!

    The other one I've read quite a bit of is where the hero or heroine is hesitant to get romantically involved because of past hurts in love. It especially works well in the suspense genre because a dangerous situation will force these two together and makes the reluctant one rely on the other character for protection. It forces them to trust where there would be no immediate need to otherwise. :-)

    I've read millions (ok, maybe not quite that many, lol) books where I can see all these various themes in various books. It's a neat process to see how the characters grow and change in each situation. Kind of like us as real people, we change and grow as things come up in our lives!

    I'll grab your delicious sounding breakfast in the morning on my way to reading other comments that were added after me. Please add me to the very generous giveaway you have offered here! How fun :-) Blessings!

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    1. Morning Trixi,
      "Karate Kid" was always a family favorite. So was "Hoosiers." We love those stories about an underdog who becomes the winner! Great lessons for kids...and adults. And, of course, they fit The Hero's Journey! :)

      I'm nodding with you about the reluctant hero or heroine forced on the run with a love interest who is the least likely person she/he wants to be with...and, as you mentioned, they have to work together and, naturally, fall in love. The plot structure works even though we've read the same type of story before...even a million times! :)

      You are such an avid reader that your mention of reading millions of books doesn't surprise me. So glad you're part of our Seekerville community. You always provide a delightful insight from the reader's point of view!

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    2. Hi Debby:

      How could I forget external conflict? This just goes to show that it does not matter what you know if you don't remember it when you need it!

      In fact, I'd say my favorite romance external conflict was in Glynna's first book, "Dreaming of Home", where two very deserving people, hero and heroine, had to get the one teaching job in a small mountain town. There was no good alternative to not getting the job! I was rooting for both the hero and heroine. That was eight years ago and I can still feel how I felt as I was reading that book. (My memories depend a lot on how a book made me feel as I was reading it.)

      I also remember now a Seeker post which had very clear little charts which provided spaces to write the external and internal GMCs for each of the major characters. That's a great idea!

      It just pays to read the Seeker posts everyday!

      Vince

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    3. Glynna's books are always wonderful! In DREAMING OF HOME, she used the "two dogs, one bone" idea that Janet often mentions in her blogs.

      Love the various ways we can work that all important conflict into our stories! :)

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  2. Hi Debby:

    The hero's journey seems to be best suited to adventure stories and quests of various kinds. How would you streamline it to accommodate a simple non-adventure love story?

    I have a suggestion:

    1. hero and heroine meet and there is an attraction which for some reason is unwanted.
    2. hero and heroine keep meeting and the attraction grows stronger but the reasons why the attraction is unwanted also grows stronger.
    3. events cause an advance in the character arc to where hero and/or heroine come to think an attraction would not be so wrong and they make some moves to test the attraction.
    4. seemingly objections to a union are overcome and a lasting romance seems possible.
    5. a well founded 'black moment' occurs destroying the possibility of a romantic union.
    6. character efforts and advancement along the character arc overcome the black moment roadblock and the romance obtains.
    7. epilogue provides a surprise second helping of the HEA delighting the reader into going to Amazon to buy more of your books.

    What do you think?

    Vince

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    1. Hi Vince, add an external goal, something concrete or tangible that the hero and heroine need to achieve, and you've identified the stages of a romance. Falling in love is a by-product, albeit a vital one, that springs from trying to achieve that external goal. So the heroine wants to save grandma's Victorian home from the developer who wants the land for a high-rise apartment complex. Or both hero and heroine are vying for the same job promotion. Or...you get the idea. Add that external goal and you've nailed the stages of a romance!

      Hubby and I watch Hallmark movies together. He can now pick out all the stages. The movies are great study tools for writers hoping to hone their story development craft! :)

      BTW: Most romances follow The Hero's Journey, although the stages are more easily recognized in adventures films, as you mentioned.

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    2. Debby, I love deconstructing Hallmark movies. My husband laughs and says I watch romance movies like he watches sports throwing out the play-by-play. "There's the inciting incident!" "Oh, that's a great external goal." "Oh, he's going to have to overcome that reticence to commit!" "OOOOOH, now THAT'S a black moment!!" and so forth.

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    3. Josee, I'm laughing because I do the same thing when watching Hallmark movies. Great comparison with a guy watching sports! Hugs to hubby for that observation!!!

      Loved your Easter pics with your beautiful children!

      Happy Easter Wednesday! Alleluia! Alleluia!

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    4. Vince, I thought the same thing too, the first time I read Vogler's book. But I understand now that all books, regardless of genre, are most successful when they follow the stages. I always look at books and movies as an exaggeration of real life. Sometimes, it's subtle, other times it's super obvious. Because in real life, there usually isn't a ton of drama surrounding dating and falling in love. People meet, date, have their first kiss, date some more and decide this is "it." The drama comes after the "I DO." hahahaha

      In his book "The Moral Premise," Stan Williams says the external goal becomes a metaphor for the internal truth of the story. So the external goal has to relate, in some way, to the moral premise, or universal truth, of the story.

      Not an easy thing for me to really "get" but I'm getting there...

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    5. Thank you, Debby! Allelulia, indeed! It's just the start of Easter season and I love Pentecost!

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    6. Hey, VINCE, initially I agreed that "The hero's journey seems to be best suited to adventure stories and quests of various kinds," but then I thought about my stories, and realized that in most cases, the only "quest" my heroes had was to avoid emotional involvement with a woman for various reasons. Not much of a quest, but it's all I got. ;)

      Debby, like Josee, I love deconstructing Hallmark movies too. Well ... maybe not deconstructing so much as defending the plot from my hubby's rolling eyes and "Didn't see that coming!" comments.

      Josee, you made me laugh with your hubby's comment that you "watch romance movies like he watches sports throwing out the play-by-play. "There's the inciting incident!" "Oh, that's a great external goal." "Oh, he's going to have to overcome that reticence to commit!" "OOOOOH, now THAT'S a black moment!!" and so forth."

      Josee, you also said in regard to The Moral Premise: "Not an easy thing for me to really "get" but I'm getting there..."

      Move over, sweetie, because it took me FOREVER to get the concept of the moral premise in relation to my own books. I imagined my poor agent kept shaking her head every time I sent her what I thought the moral premise was for my latest book. I never got it right in her eyes, and I'm not sure I get it right now. But like Ruthy, I'm one of those gals who would rather just write it than read how to write it, which can be good or can be bad ... ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    7. Speaking of Hallmark movies (which I also love to deconstruct as I watch), there needs to be a mythical character representation for "throwaway boyfriend." I've lost count of how many times those movies have one!

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    8. JULIE- there is so much freedom in "just writing" rather than reading how to write! I went nuts this fall buying books and studying like I was back in college and all it did was throw me. I was blocked, stopped and confused. It's fine to have a basic understanding of this stuff but when I looked back and read the first thing I ever wrote (which was done all on instinct) I realized it was all there, anyway!

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    9. So true, Josee. All that info can block our creativity. When I start to write, I just focus on the story. I use The Hero's Journey in the brainstorming phase or if I'm stuck and can't see how to move the story forward. Often a little tweak gets the story back on track. :)

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    10. Hi Josee:

      I think a list, like the hero's journey, is somewhat like a Rorschach ink blot test. It's one thing to be given a story and be told to find the elements of the list in that story. I believe if you think hard enough, you'll very often find all those elements or what you interpret as finding them. I also have found that I can usually come up with at least three different moral premises for any good novel or movie. There just are many lessons that can be derived from any significant occurance.

      However, if you just draw up the elements you are going to put into the story before it is written, then you may not need to have all the adventure elements on that list from the start. Of course, the elements will still get in there but their entry will be as an organic outcome of the plot and not as something externally added to the plot. (As in sticking the mouth on Mr. Potato Man). In other words, in a simple romance I don't think you need to be trying to get all those 'heroic journey' elements into the story...because I believe they will be in their anyway. Also, as you pointed out, trying to fit them in seems to be anti creative and an invitation to writer's block.

      I don't see writer's books as cookbooks that you have out and follow as you write a story. I see them as exercising in the gyn. They make you 'stronger' so you can write better on your own not holding a how to book in your hand.

      I really like the points you make!

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    11. Josee, you are really mastering this writing gig. Quoting Moral Premise. WOOOEEEEE!!!

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    12. I'm so happy I make you proud, Tina!

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    13. Josee... it is okay to step away from the books. It works for lots of folks, but for those of us who don't do it that way, the book matter is plain frustrating... I love the idea of "The Moral Premise". It made perfect sense to me... but I didn't have to read the book to realize the meaning. (Sorry, Stan, you know I love you!!!!) It's pretty much there in the first chapter.

      These guys know I don't read books, and they mostly love me anyway. I'd rather write than read any day.

      I'm not dissing books. (NEVER!!!) :)

      But if you can do it your own way, I don't think that's ever wrong. We self-trainers are a different sort. And that's always all right here.

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    14. Wow, Josee, I'm impressed, but feel your pain, too. I'm sure if I read one more craft book, I'll explode! I always promise myself that I'll never read another craft book, or print out/bookmark another post, but here I am, printing this one out. Debby always explains the craft so I can understand it. I like that.

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  3. I can recognise the stages as regards movies I have watched & books I have read.

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    1. Yay, Mary! Does that help or hurt your enjoyment of the films?

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  4. Confession time! Old hard head here has the new and old copy of Vogler's book AND read Campbell's book. YET none of it really computed until I understood it in terms of Hague's Six Stage Structure.

    Well I could deconstruct the Original Star Wars movie and Indiana Jones with Vogler. Those were easy even for this dunce.

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    1. I haven't read Campbell's book. Should I? Your thoughts?

      Yes, I love how Vogler and Hauge work together on story structure. Hauge is my guy, too. I follow his ideas when I write my stories, but I also find great value in The Hero's Journey. The fact that all stories from all cultures follow the basic twelves stages amazes me. If we can tap into the universality, our stories will better resonate with readers. At least, that's my hope.

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    2. You know what book I've tried and cannot "get" at all? Snyder's "Save the Cat!"

      Over my head.

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    3. I'm smiling, Josee. I have Synder's book, but I have NOT READ Synder's book. Shame on me.

      Pass the jelly beans! Please!

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    4. We all need more jelly beans. I've brought them. Help yourselves, my friends!

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  5. Great post, Debby! So much to digest in the wee hours of the morning. I've printed it to study and of course, for the Seekerville notebook. The examples are very helpful. Thanks!

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    1. Jill, I love your mention of a Seekerville notebook. You must be very organized! I'm impressed.

      Enjoy the day!

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  6. Good morning Debby, thanks for sharing. Like Jill said this is a lot to digest and definitely a 'keeper' post!

    Your examples make it easier to understand, and I think I can use it with my WIP.

    Congrats on TWO May releases!

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    1. Thanks, Jackie!

      After reviewing the twelve stages, I decided to add a chase scene in my current WIP. So my suggestion is to review The Hero's Journey when working on your story outline or synopsis. No telling what might come to mind!


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  7. Hi, Debby! Love this post. Full of great information. "Every story needs such a life or death moment in which the hero or his goals are in mortal jeopardy." For the books and movies I reread or rewatch, this is the part that is done really well. It makes me want to continue on to see how they will overcome.

    Love your books, Debby, and would love to be entered to win a copy of your new books!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words about my stories, Sally. You're in the drawings!

      Yes, those life or death moments really grip me. I should add that even in a comedy, that moment is still there, as you know...but perhaps someone visiting the blog for the first time might not. :) The death doesn't have to be a physical death, but could be an emotional death or a death to a relationship or a coveted goal.

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  8. Thanks Debby for summarizing Vogler's book. It makes plotting a book so much simpler.

    I've loved all of your books, especially the Amish ones. I can't wait for the next one!

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    1. Hi Carroll!
      Thanks for stopping by Seekerville today. The more I study Vogler, the more I appreciate the twelve stages and how they can be incorporated into any story. Keeping his caveat in mind, of course!

      Thanks for your constant support and encouragement!!! I need to set a date for my next book signing. Will keep you posted!

      Easter Wednesday hugs! He is risen! Alleluia!

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    2. Deb, I love that you've married Amish and suspense, too... I think that's a stellar combination, especially the way you handle it. It's not an easy thing to "blend"...

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  9. Thanks for the hot cross buns. This is a post I will want to keep close by as I write. I hope everyone will have a great day.

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    1. I hope the blog helps you as you move forward with your writing, Wilani!

      Easter Wednesday hugs!

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  10. When I discovered the Hero's journey, a light bulb went on in my head. It makes outlining a lot easier, and there are so many variations. I've used a loose form of it in several of my books.

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    1. Amber, another advocate for The Hero's Journey!!! YAY! Seems we're on the same page, so to speak. Care for some jelly beans and chocolate?

      Hugs!

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  11. Wow Debby! I have a picture in my head that wasn't there before. True, most of those stages the hero goes through are included even if a writer doesn't know about them, but what an advantage to be able to figure this out ahead of time and incorporate it into the story. Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. Hi Cindy,
      You're right that most of us include a number of the stages intuitively...even if we've never heard of The Hero's Journey. But keeping an overview of the stages at hand can help when our stories seem to flounder. Actually, it helps to prevent sagging middles...there's always action to keep the plot moving forward!

      Hugs!

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  12. Good morning, Debby.

    This made the Hero's Journey super clear. I don't know if this time it was easier to understand this time or because sometimes you just need to hear something several times, but it's more clear than ever.

    I see the Hero's Journey in all the movies we watch. From Despicable Me, to Big Hero 6, to National Treasure. It's there.

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    1. Connie, you're so right that The Hero's Journey can be found in most movies and it applies to our written work as well.

      As you mentioned, sometimes we need to hear/study/review a concept a number of times before it really sinks in. Like you, I continue to "get" more from the twelve stages each time I review Vogler's book.

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    2. Please minus one of the "this time" in my above comment. I'd really like an edit button.

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    3. No buttons needed in Seekerville. We're all writers...and readers. We understand that fingers don't always hit the right keys on the keyboard and sometimes our thoughts move faster than our fingers.

      Jelly beans help with every problem! I'm throwing some your way, Connie!

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  13. Hey, Debby, fascinating blog today, my friend, as always!

    I'm going to duck when I say this, but I have never read either Vogler or Hague, so I feel a little bit like a dunce right now.

    But one thing I have noticed is that it is true that it's primarily the hero's journey I focus on in each of my books, or at least it's the journey that fascinates me the most.

    This is why I wrote the following in my writer's workbook called Romance-ology 101:

    "Okay, class, raise your hand if you think the heroine is the most important feature in a romance novel.

    CRACK!! Well, you’re wrong, people, because it’s not the heroine who lures over 74.8 million people to read at least one romance novel a year (source: RWA Reader Survey 2008). Nope, it’s that big, strong, hulking-male-type who tempts the female readers (ahem . . . women account for 91 percent of sales) to lay down their hard-earned cash for a little bit of romance.

    Why? Because each female reader IS the heroine in her own eyes, exploring the bonds of love and romance vicariously through the heroine in any romance novel. A woman who just wants to be loved like the hero loves the heroine.

    Let’s face it—the male is key. His feelings/reactions revealed through his “internal monologue” (i.e., his thoughts) generate readers' feelings/reactions even more so than the heroine's because his desire translates into the desire every woman wishes she could elicit."

    Fun stuff, Deb!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

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    1. Vogler uses the term "hero" for the lead character, whether male or female. Are you saying, Julie, that the hero is the lead in each of your stories? Hmmmm? Seems your women are in the forefront and their character arcs move the story along in a number of your books that I've read. I find the hero and heroine are both on a journey in my stories, both have inner conflict that needs to be healed/revealed/accepted/forgiven, and often it's hard to determine which of the two characters undergoes more change.

      My upcoming Amish Protectors series focuses on three sisters so they are the leads in each book. For the Military Investigations stories, the lead was often the heroine, yet the hero had to grow as well.

      We could discuss story all day, right?

      And you're so right that the female reader sees herself as the heroine and falls in love with the hero. That's why he needs to be so...well, heroic! :)

      Easter Wednesday hugs! Alleluia!

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    2. Oh it is SO about the, how did you put it, Julie? "Big, strong, hulking-male-type?" : ) Definitely, 100%.

      I love seeing how the heroine grows and reaches her goal but you need a fascinating hero to help get her there! There's nothing worse than reading a romance where the hero isn't worthy of the heroine.

      And now the lyrics to Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For A Hero" are playing in my head...

      I need a hero
      I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
      He's gotta be strong
      And he's gotta be fast
      And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
      I need a hero
      I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light
      He's gotta be sure
      And it's gotta be soon
      And he's gotta be larger than life!
      Larger than life

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    3. I'm laughing at your comment Josee because it puts me in a mind for the movie "Top Gun"!! Now there's a movie with exactly what Debby is talking about today!! I think it's time for a re-watch :-)

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    4. Yes to "Top Gun!" A great "Hero's Journey" story.

      I'll watch with you, Trixi. Shall I bring popcorn?

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    5. Yes please! You supply the popping kernels and I'll supply the good old fashioned popcorn maker...you know, the one you add kernels & oil to, butter on top (if you wish), plug it in and away you go! For the distinguished popcorn lovers who want the REAL thing and not that microwave stuff, HA! ;-)

      Delete
    6. You're right, Trixi. That's "real" popcorn like we get at the movie theaters! YUM!

      Delete
    7. Laughing because it's pouring here and Dave's got baseball on and the house is full of kids and I made a humongous bowl of popcorn.... with real butter on top! I make it on top of the stove, no microwave stuff... so it's like real theater popcorn.... but, what I am supposed to be saying is that I agree about a hero's draw... but I love crafting the heroine's journey. I've always felt that was my strong point, my calling, to help women see ways out of the low spots of life... and cling to faith and hope and love.

      So I see that money getting plunked down as for both. I don't know if it's technically right, Jules, but I want people to be as drawn to Elsa or Angelina or Rory or Alyssa or Hannah, etc... as to their heroes. I want the women reading it to feel blessed to their very soul... and hopeful. Not about a hero...

      But about themselves.

      I think that's what drives me with every heroine in every story.

      Delete
    8. Ruthy....my dad always made popcorn on the stove in a cast iron skillet with lots of REAL butter....I can just hear them kernels popping and smell the buttery goodness! Now I've never perfected it on the stove, so I resort to my West Bend Stir-crazy popcorn machine to do it for me. Add a bit of oil & butter if you wish and viola! None of the microwave stuff here either ;-)

      Now I'm really going to age myself here....we used to go to the drive-in theater on a regular basis as a kid. My dad would load up the back of the truck with people (back in the day it was legal), pop a million bags of popcorn & enjoy the show. Great memories :-)

      Geeze, now I'm craving popcorn & I don't have any kernels.....sigh....

      Delete
    9. Popcorn...It's What's for Dinner...couldn't resist! Many nights while on a tight budget...

      Delete
  14. Thanks Debby. This is another post to save and print. I'll be singing hot cross buns all day!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Now, I'm hearing hot cross buns in my head as well! :)

      Care for some chocolate? Jelly beans? I love the reds! YUM!

      Delete
    2. Debby, I found these lyrics for hot cross bun and I'm wondering if these are the ones your thinking? I've never heard it before.

      Hot cross buns,
      Hot cross buns,
      One a penny,
      Two a penny,
      Hot cross buns.

      If you have no daughters,
      If you have no sons,
      One a penny,
      Two a penny,
      Hot cross buns.

      If your sons don't like them,
      They're the only ones,
      One a penny,
      Two a penny,
      Hot cross buns.

      I don't tell jokes
      and I don't tell puns,
      One a penny,
      Two a penny,
      Hot cross buns.

      Get them while they're hot
      and eat them by the ton,
      One a penny,
      Two a penny,
      Hot cross buns.

      Delete
  15. Debby, what a great recap! I can see most of the parts in my wip. I love to study story structure! It's just difficult sometimes to see all the parts within my own stories, to make sure I didn't skip something major.

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    Replies
    1. I like Vogler's caveat. He gives us permission to include what's needed in the order that works for our stories.

      I love story structure too! It grabs me...always! In a good way. Not in a life or death way. :)

      Just thought I'd clarify!

      Easter hugs and jelly beans!!!

      Delete
  16. wow Debby, Between you and Laurie yesterday, I'm really getting good structure to start my new wip. Great outline of Vogler's stages of the journey. This helps me flesh out my outline. Thanks a bunch. btw your books look wonderful and knowing you, they are great reads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sandra!

      Wasn't Laurie great yesterday! I'm excited because Georgia Romance Writers is hosting her this SAT for an all-day workshop that I'm attending. Can't wait to soak up all the great info she'll provide.

      More fodder for future blog posts! :)

      Delete
  17. A clear and succinct summary of the Hero's Journey, Debby! I read Vogler's book many years ago, I've watched the Hauge video class a few times, and I've worked through Stan Williams's Storycraft series.

    So all this stuff is wafting about in the back of my brain, but I have to admit, I'm never consciously planning my stories around the 12 steps (or any other system of plotting).

    Even so, I think as we grow as writers (and read a lot of good books, too), much of this becomes instinctual. At least I hope so!

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    Replies
    1. I agree, Myra. The various strategies and techniques soak in even if we're not aware of the stages/steps/techniques as we write our stories. Because The Hero's Journey is innate to man--if what Campbell determined is true--then it seems that many of the stages would find their way naturally into our work whether we had ever heard of Campbell or Vogler.

      I've been musing over whether our spiritual quests for truth and the journey we take through life to deeper our personal relationship with the Lord follow that same path. Do we approach a spiritual question, just as our hero might approach the Inmost Cave? Our struggle to understand and accept a difficult teaching might equate to the battle in the Supreme Ordeal. When we have grasped the scriptural truth, so to speak, we return to the Ordinary World with that knowledge or with an even stronger realization of our relationship with the Lord. Seems we would undertake a series of journeys in our lifetimes as we grapple with various questions. Am I getting offtrack? Just my Easter Week musings.

      Hugs!

      Delete
    2. You're getting deep, Debby--LOL! But yes, interesting to think about our spiritual journey that way.

      Delete
  18. Debby, the timing of your post couldn't be better for me! I wasn't entirely sold with the opening of my proposal and realize from the snippets you gave of Vogler's The Writer's Journey that I need to add the heroine's ordinary world to the opening. I can now see that showing her world and her reluctance of taking up the call to adventure will make the story much richer. So thanks bunches! Off to write!

    Janet

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    Replies
    1. Happy to help, Janet. Always nice working with Christopher Vogler. :) I enjoyed his early bird session at ACFW some years ago.

      You nail the openings of your books so I'm sure the beginning of your current WIP will grab the reader at the onset and won't let her put the book down until THE END!

      I still remember the burial scene in the opening of your last story, wasn't it? So memorable! My heart went out to the widow and her young son!

      Easter hugs!

      Delete
    2. Debby, you're so sweet to remember that opening. Not my typical LIH opening but fun--if a burial scene can be considered fun--to write.

      Janet

      Delete
    3. It was fun to read...or maybe poignant would be a better word. I felt for the heroine after what she had endured with that rotten skunk! :)

      Delete
  19. Debby, your new book Amish Refuge looks terrific! The heroine on the cover looks scared and no wonder. :-)

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope readers like the story. It was a fun challenge to write. :)

      Delete
    2. Debby, your readers will love it, I'm sure! I always marvel at how you keep the romance growing while the hero and heroine are fighting for their lives.

      Janet

      Delete
  20. Debby, I love your cover! There seems to be a fresh, new look coming from LIS, and they all look terrific. Thank you for breaking story structure down for us. I'm just now delving into that book, and I think it's going to take a while for it to sink in.

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    Replies
    1. Meghan, I hope you enjoy THE WRITER'S JOURNEY (Maghan was the winner of my FEB blog!)! I need to get the third edition, which is what you have. Vogler has added lots of new info since the 1992 edition that I'm using.

      Delete
    2. Typo alert...or creative spelling...Maghan should be Meghan. My bad! :(

      Delete
    3. Glad you like the cover on AMISH REFUGE. I was thrilled when my editor sent me the sneak peek some months ago. Love the LI Art Department! :)

      Delete
  21. What a great post! The 12 steps I have never heard of, but than again I major a writer. I am looking forward to reading your new book.

    Linda Ortiz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, thanks for stopping by Seekerville today and leaving a comment. You're in the drawing!

      Easter blessings to you and yours!

      Delete
  22. Hi Debby! Your books look fabulous! I'm going through the Writer's Journey online class now so this is perfectly timed and helpful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who's teaching the class, Sharee? I'm sure you're picking up lots of writing tips. Vogler's book is filled with great info!

      Delete
    2. It's the online class through Udemy

      Delete
  23. I agree with Meghan, the LIS covers are getting brighter and more friendly. Love yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The LI Art Department does a great job, IMHO! I was thrilled when I first saw the cover for AMISH REFUGE! I haven't received the cover for the second story in the series yet.

      I'm eagerly waiting...

      One thing for sure, there will be a bonnet on the cover! :)

      Hugs!

      Delete
  24. And as to should you read Campbell. Not necessarily. At the time I was reading all the archetype books.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Debby, as I revamp a hero for a rewrite, I appreciate this post. I've read a few things about the Hero's Journey, but the way you outlined it today resonates. Maybe because I've been thinking about my hero lately. :)

    Thank you for sharing your insights! They helped me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to help, Jeanne. Remember that internal conflict, and as Laurie mentioned yesterday, make him flawed!!!

      I love flawed/wounded/reluctant heroes!!!

      What's your guy's name? I once gave my hero the wrong name and I couldn't get into his head. After I changed his name, he revealed his story to me. Just a FYI! :)

      Easter Wednesday hugs!

      Since jelly beans are gluten-free, I hope you enjoy the ones I've brought to share. What's your favorite color?

      Delete
    2. My hero's name is Carter Maddox. I love his name, and who he is. But I need to know him better to write him well. :) Thanks for the jelly beans. They were delicious! Especially the black ones! :)

      Delete
    3. Love Carter's name. Strong! Heroic! Good for you. I hope he reveals himself to you soon, Jeanne!

      Delete
  26. Great post, Debby! I hope you had a wonderful Easter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Easter was wonderful. We spent the weekend with my eldest daughter, her hubby and their three children. The bunny brought lots of goodies...and lots of candy! I indulged! :)

      Going to church together is always special and even more so on Easter. He is risen! Alleluia!

      Hugs to you and yours!

      Delete
  27. This is laid out just as clearly and perfectly as I've ever seen it, Debby. Excellent blog.
    I think for once in my life, I oughta try plotting a book before I begin it.
    What are the chances that will end well????
    But I'm right this minute ready to start a new book. I could risk plotting, just once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Old habits are hard to break, Mary. Plus, we write the way we write. Why change if it works for you! And after all the books you've published and the millions of readers who are begging for the next Mary Connealy read, why mess with a good thing?

      Would a jelly bean help?

      Delete
    2. My motto: Why fix what works? I agree with Debby, Mary! You be you, who God created you to be as an author! I love your writing voice, your quick wit, your drool-worthy cowboy heroes....just everything :-)

      Delete
    3. That's this readers story and I'm sticking to it, so there! HAHA!

      Delete
    4. Mary's heroes are so lovable, aren't they, Trixi?

      Delete
    5. Mary.... if it ain't broke... :) Don't fix it!

      We plot... eventually... around chapter five.

      And then we go back and fix as needed.

      But if I try to plot too much of a book, it falls short. As long as I have the idea and the hero and heroine's strengths and weaknesses.... then the emotion feeds in.

      Or gunfire.

      ;)

      Delete
  28. Thank you so much for sharing this, Debby!
    With the writing of every book, I always forget this part:

    "The stages can be deleted, added to, and drastically re-shuffled without losing any of their power."

    Love the versatility of fiction. Somedays I just forget to embrace it. :)

    And oh my word, your book sounds amazing! Would love to be entered in the giveaway! :)
    nataliedmonk at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Natalie. I love Vogler's caveat. The stages aren't set in stone...thankfully!

      You're in the drawings...three of them!

      Easter hugs!

      Delete
  29. Debby, I'm so sorry I'm late today!!! I have kids in and out this week, (it's our spring break here) so there is nothing normal about my days... And this is such a great reminder of these crucial steps.

    I find when I go astray it's often because I've mis-stepped and then I need to go back and deepen that journey.

    I have jelly beans here, too... And they're addictive. So my whole "Shakeology" thing will be for naught if I don't stop shoveling jelly beans in!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enjoy your family, Ruthy! How fun! And jelly beans too. It's all good.

      Happy Easter blessings to you and yours!

      Delete
    2. Thank you! I'm peeking at the baby (18 months old) and it appears she might be having popcorn for supper. :) I'm convinced that popcorn is highly nutritious. And I'm sticking with that story!!!!

      Delete
  30. I really love these analysis posts! Right now, I think my WIP I'm definitely in the 'Western bar' scene, as my hero tries to figure out what's happened in the world since his year of 'amnesia.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perfect, Boo! I haven't read an amnesia story in sometime, Boo. You're making me eager to read YOUR story!!!

      Delete
    2. Boo, I haven't read an amnesia story in awhile, but I've always loved them. Eager for your story!

      Hugs!

      Delete
  31. Debby, thanks for this wonderful post. I've not read Vogler, and find some of the phrases he uses to describe the steps totally confusing...Seizing The Sword, Return With the Elixir...thank you, Lord, we have your faithful servant Debby to break all this down for me!

    I do LOVE looking at all the hunky heroes in the movies, and will be trying the deconstructing of them like you, Josee and others. I don't watch much TV, but see a lot of DVRing Hallmark movies in my future.

    Please enter me in your drawings...thanks!

    Blessings,

    Marcia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marcia, Vogler has kept some of the mythology terms that Joseph Campbell first used. Think "Star Wars" type films or SciFi/Fantasy and the stages should make more sense. :)

      You're in the drawings!

      Hugs!

      Delete
  32. Wonderful post, Debby! I'm sorry I'm super late stopping in today, but SO glad I read (and am saving!) your post. As I read each part I thought of my current ms and asked myself if that stage is represented. Always learning and re-learning! ;)
    Congratulations on your May release! No need to enter me in your drawing as I am purchasing your book. :)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Patti Jo! You're always so supportive. Thanks for being such a dear friend!

      Happy Easter blessings!

      Delete
  33. Debby, Hi. I have Vogler's book, and one of these days I'll read it. In the meantime, I'll be thankful for reminders from Seekerville and workshops. Let's see. Examples. Of course, Star Wars and Wizard of Oz are two frequently cited movies. Today, I've been thinking about it, and I decided to think about While You Were Sleeping. Yep, there's Lucy's ordinary world working at the subway. She has a call to adventure by lying about going out with Peter Gallagher's character. She has to defend herself when she has to prove she knows a lot about him. I went through every part of the movie, and found all the steps.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "While You Were Sleeping" is a great movie that fits The Hero's Journey. Good for you to identify the stages!!! Yay, Tanya! Plus, Michael Hauge often discusses "While...Sleeping" so it fits his story model as well.

      See you SAT for the big GRW workshop. Can't wait! Thanks for all your hard work making it happen.

      Hugs!

      Delete
    2. TANYA!! I love when people deconstruct. GO GO GO!~

      Delete
  34. Has Tina already mentioned the DVD of Vogler and Hauge? (Sorry, I've been in and out to the vet and shopping and down with allergies.)

    I had to laugh because when I opened this comment box to ask that, the box aligned with The Hero's Two Journeys posts in the sidebar.

    I've played with Vogler many times, but I seem to find it easier to integrate with Hauge's template. I'll have to try again with your fabulous breakdown!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm planning to review the Vogler/Hauge DVD yet again...after I finish my current deadline project. Love both those guys; they're both true story wizards!

      Sorry about your allergies. I did nothing but sneeze and blow my nose over the Easter weekend. But I'm better today. Good luck to you, Cate!

      Delete
    2. Mary Cate, I love The Hero's Two Journeys. I've watched it over and over (I own the DVD).

      Delete
  35. Busy day for me, but am saving this post for when I eventually get a breather. Love this stuff. Thanks, Debby!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope your load has lightened, Deb!
      Hugs!

      Delete
  36. I'm reading this a day late, but I love your summary and examples. I've heard this taught and read about it many times and each time I think I absorb a little more.

    In my stories, I often have a strong mentor - that seems to happen naturally. I think it will help to review this list as I'm thinking about my list of "things that can happen in my story".

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Dana, mentors are wonderful tools for us to use! I often have an older person offering advice. :)

      Delete
  37. While reading this post I was very pleased to be able to place scenes of my book in the places of the stages. Very interesting post, thanks for the insight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful, Nicki! Glad you're incorporating some of the stages into your story...even before you read the blog!

      Delete
  38. Debby, thanks for this very interesting post. As I was reading the twelve stages and I read your mention of Mentor , I was reminded of the novel Christy by Catherine Marshall. When Christy decided to go Cutter Gap to volunteer to teach, she was befriended by Alice Henderson. Miss Alice became Christy's mentor and she encouraged her to not only teach the children but to also recognize that their Appalachian beliefs and customs were worth preserving. Miss Alice helped young Christy become a better teacher and a more caring person and that is what a mentor does!
    Blessings,
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  39. This was great, thank you Debby!

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

    ReplyDelete