I rely on TEDTalks. When I'm stuck in a story, I'll head out for a hike and listen to the NPR Podcast.
This past week, the subject was my favorite! The Hero's Journey.
I'm a big Joseph Campbell fan. I own the interview series The Power of Myth that he did with Bill Moyers in 1988. I often go back and watch them again to refresh my writing. (And my conviction in own journey.) If you're a writer and you've haven't watched - WATCH!
A good novel or film, one that stays with you, is always about the character's arc - the hero's journey. The plot is created out of what the character needs to change internally/externally in order to win in the end. A great character, a good obstacle and a well-plotted out journey make a good story.
Take the movie, "Bridesmaids." When it opens, the main character, Annie, is mess. She's lost her bakery and man, is working a crappy job and has these horrible roommates. She's given up on herself, her passion and finding love. (And she has a crappy relationship with her mom and is sleeping with a real jerk.) And then, her best friend gets engaged and asks her to be the maid-of-honor. The tailormade obstacles Annie must face (within and without) in performing her duties as a maid-of-honor are what transform Annie and make her the hero in the end.
Watch a few movies and spot The Hero's Journey.
1. The Regular Life
2. The Call to Action
3. Setting out to Sea
4. Meets the mentor
5. Meets the Dragon or Obstacle
6. Winds Shift - Learning New Skills, Meeting New People, Seeing New Lands
7. Lost at Sea - Midway - Cannot Find the New Shore - Cannot Return Home - Dragon May Win
8. Death - Letting Go of the Old Way/Self
9. Slaying the Dragon - Victory!
10. Changed Hero Returns Home - brings back the story to share with the Tribe
For a great visual on The Hero's Journey, watch this fun 4 Minute Video.