Wednesday, August 3, 2011

HJ4W 10 The Road Back

Writing Wednesday - The Hero's Journey for Writers

In its tenth phase, the pace of the hero's journey quickens as, armed with the hard-won Reward, the hero embarks on The Road Back that leads inevitably to the final confrontation.

The critical opening of this phase is the determination, made in the full knowledge of what the hero has suffered and what the antagonist is capable of, to go back and fight again.

Kim Hudson* characterizes The Road Back this way:
"The hero has faced death and survived. He has gained some kind of reward from this experience and armed with this knowledge, realization, or sword, the hero looks to secure the future of the village. He knows he must face death again, but this time he must do more that just survive. He needs the skill, cunning, and strength to assert his will over the will of the villain."
As writers, one aspect of The Road Back is a determination to keep submitting with the full knowledge that we're setting ourselves up for more rejection. Another, and perhaps more important, aspect is to keep writing, with faith that our hard-won knowledge will make our work better.

But you must be prepared:
"The Road Back is complicated by a seemingly impossible series of obstacles heaped onto the hero."
Unlike the hero's journey in stories, the pace of your real-life journey will not pick up in this phase. Indeed, you may feel that things are slowing down. What you'll find is that you spend a lot of time cycling between Ordeal, Reward, and The Road Back because final confrontations that irrevocably change things one way or another are rare.

The one thing, though, that is true in both stories and life, is that the hero keeps going.

* Kim Hudson, The Virgin's Promise

Image: Simon Howden /

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