The Hero's Journey

"The Hero's Journey"
Characters
By Archetypes
By Major/Minor Roles
Heroes
Shadows
Mentors
Herald
Threshold Guardians
Shapeshifters
Tricksters
Allies
Characters who help the hero through the change. Sidekicks, buddies, girlfriends who advise the hero through the transitions of life.
Clowns and mischief-makers, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. Our own mischievous subconscious, urging us to change.
In stories, creatures like vampires or werewolves who change shape. In life, the shapeshifter represents change. The way other people (or our perceptions of them) keep changing. The opposite sex, the way people can be two-faced.
The forces that stand in the way at important turning points, including jealous enemies, professional gatekeepers, or your own fears and doubts.
One who brings the Call to Adventure. Could be a person or an event.
The hero’s guide or guiding principles. Yoda, Merlin, a great coach or teacher.
Villains and enemies, perhaps the enemy within. The dark side of the Force, the repressed possibilities of the hero, his or her potential for evil. Can be other kinds of repression, such as repressed grief, anger, frustration or creativity that is dangerous if it doesn’t have an outlet.
Central figures in stories. Everyone is the hero of his or her own myth.
Major Characters
Minor Characters
Setting
Time Period
Locations
List any important physical locations where the story will be taking place.
(ex. specific cities/states/countries/worlds, real or imagined... certain character homes... places of business... etc...)
General season/year/era/month/week/day the story takes place.
(ex. Modern age... Victorian... Futuristic... Spring... Winter... Summer... etc...)
Stages of the Hero's Journey
1. The Ordinary World
2. The Call to Adventure
3. Refusal of the Call
4. Meeting with the Mentor
5. Crossing the Threshold
6. Tests, Allies, and Enemies
7. The Approach
8. The Ordeal
9. The Reward
10. The Road Back
11. The Resurrection
12. Return with the Elixir
The hero’s not out of the woods yet. Some of the best chase scenes come at this point, as the hero is pursued by the vengeful forces from whom he has stolen the elixir or the treasure.. This is the chase as Luke and friends are escaping from the Death Star, with Princess Leia and the plans that will bring down Darth Vader.
If the hero has not yet managed to reconcile with his father or the gods, they may come raging after him at this point. This is the moonlight bicycle flight of Elliott and E. T. as they escape from “Keys” (Peter Coyote), a force representing governmental authority. By the end of the movie Keys and Elliott have been reconciled and it even looks like Keys will end up as Elliott’s step-father.
The hero emerges from the special world, transformed by his/her experience. There is often a replay here of the mock death-and-rebirth of Stage 8, as the hero once again faces death and survives. The Star Wars movies play with this theme constantly – all three of the films to date feature a final battle scene in which Luke is almost killed, appears to be dead for a moment, and then miraculously survives. He is transformed into a new being by his experience.
The hero comes back to the ordinary world, but the adventure would be meaningless unless he/she brought back the elixir, treasure, or some lesson from the special world. Sometimes it’s just knowledge or experience, but unless he comes back with the elixir or some boon to mankind, he’s doomed to repeat the adventure until he does. 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.
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