Wednesday, August 10, 2011

HJ4W 11 The Resurrection

Writing Wednesday - The Hero's Journey for Writers

At the climax of the hero's journey, in its mythic form, the hero challenges and defeats the greatest antagonist of all: death.

In this last great conflict, the hero descends to the darkest pit, subdues the foe, and rises above it all, resurrected, either literally or figuratively, as a new, transcendent man.

In contemporary storytelling, we generally think in terms of a final, decisive confrontation. Everything is at stake in the Final Battle, and the hero will either triumph or be destroyed along with everything he holds dear. The resolution of this conflict changes everything, most particularly the hero.

As Kim Hudson* explains:
"In the face of impossible odds and almost certain death, the hero rises to his potential in the Final Battle ... Previously the hero came to the realization that he can recover from near-death. Now the hero proves his transformation has become a part of him." 
Notice the theme of transcendence and transformation.

Like a rite of passage, the journey, particularly it's culmination, changes the hero into a new person. That change mirrors the larger change in the world brought about by the antagonist's defeat.

Of course in our day of superabundant media, writing a book rarely changes everyone's world. But like the hero's Final Battle, seeing your project through to its conclusion (which may or may not involve publication) can change your world. While there may be external changes, like a publishing contract, the ones that really matter are internal: in ways large and small, this process has transformed you.

* Kim Hudson, The Virgin's Promise

Image: Simon Howden /

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