Hero's Journey / Tests allies and enemies

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:30 pm
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Hero's Journey / Tests allies and enemies

Postby Henckel » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:11 am

Hi everyone. In the stage of the Hero's Journey, "Tests allies and enemies", does this need to be separate activity from the one used in "approaching innermost cave". Or is it acceptable to fulfill the purpose of "Tests allies and enemies" in the same activity as "approaching innermost cave".

As a practice example, my hero is going to bring his starship for repairs as an opportunity to cover off the requirements of "Tests allies and enemies". Once those repairs are finished, he will peruse his main goal of attacking the antagonist (approaching the innermost cave). ...Or can I have him attack the antagonist without going for repairs first?


Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:24 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Hero's Journey / Tests allies and enemies

Postby jficke13 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:55 am

It sounds like you're committing to the Hero's Journey as a checklist, rather than a pattern/contour for the story. I don't think that the best way to plot a story is to take a structure like the Hero's Journey and make a 1:1 transference from structure to your story (though if it works for you, I guess ignore me).

That's really just a long and verbose way of saying your structure doesn't *need* to be a perfect representation of someone's analysis of the Hero's Journey.

Is the story improved by having the challenges thrown in the path of the protagonist clearly separate from the moment she prepares to face the antagonist? Is this a short form piece where compressing length is a concern? Can one scene do the job of two as powerfully or more powerfully? Which way does the story work better?

IMHO, I'd consider those issues more than "cover[ing] off the requirements" of one structure or another.
HM x2, Vol. 34 Q4 - 3rd. http://www.jonficke.com

User avatar
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:26 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Hero's Journey / Tests allies and enemies

Postby reigheena » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:57 am

If you read "Hero with a Thousand Faces" or look at other examinations of the Hero's Journey, you'll see that other people make different distinctions about the Hero's Journey. Campbell also states that in his examination of myths from many cultures, some will do steps in different orders, or skip some entirely.

So will someone give you minus points if you don't adhere to that specific representation of the hero's journey? Maybe. I'm not one to say never. But in my opinion, its unlikely. Instead, look at each step as a tool. What do you gain if you use it? What do you lose if you don't? Can you make up for that lack elsewhere?

To address your example specifically - going in for repairs actually sounds pretty boring, and by itself doesn't seem like it will do anything. If he will meet an ally there that will help him in the climax, sure. If the repairs are complicated by "yes, but/no, and" that affects the plot (as opposed to being a sidequest that could be skipped without being noticed), absolutely. Otherwise, going for repairs sounds like a sequel to a previous complication scene, and hence, won't have much tension.
Silver Honorable Mention: 3
Honorable Mentions: 7. Published HM - Infant Insomnia
Other published works

Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:30 pm
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Re: Hero's Journey / Tests allies and enemies

Postby Henckel » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:36 pm

Damn good points from both of you.


I've been rather determined to follow the structure as closely as I can for this book, as a matter of disapline for myself. But from both of your comments, I can see I have more freedome to adapt the structure, if I wish. But more importantly, I need to ensure that, if I keep my scene of going in for repairs, that the actions and implications of that stopover are (1) interwesting in themselves and (2) integrate with the wider story.

(evil laugh) .. it will be great, when I'm done.

Return to “Writing: Craft, Talent, Technique”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest