Tuesday, December 20, 2022

3T Writing Tidbit - story structure part I

I've been reviewing story structure lately. Despite what the pundits say, there's more than one way to tell a story! You have your 3-17 step hero's journey, your 5 plot-point, your 3 act, your 2 step scene/sequel. Let's start on the far end and work our way in.

The hero's journey was famously started by Joseph Campbell. It's expressed alternately as 17, 12, 4, or 3 stages, and often pictured in a circle as the starting and ending point is exactly the same - the ordinary world. The story is in the journey, the hero's transformation between the start and the end. In other words, the start/end point is the same, it's the hero who's different.

In a nutshell (correlation of steps is mine):

3 step4 step8 step17 step
----The ordinary world--
DepartureSeparationThe call to adventureThe Call to Adventure
----Refusal of the callRefusal of the Call
----Meeting the mentorSupernatural Aid
--DescentCrossing the thresholdCrossing of the First Threshold
----Tests, allies, and enemiesBelly of the Whale
Initiation----The Road of Trials
----Approaching the inner caveMeeting with the Goddess
------Woman as the Temptress
--OrdealThe ordealAtonement with the Father/Abyss
----The rewardThe Ultimate Boon
ReturnReturnThe road backRefusal of the Return
------The Magic Flight
------Rescue from Without
----The resurrection/final testCrossing of the Return Threshold
----Return with the elixirMaster of the Two Worlds
------Freedom to Live

You can find explanations for these steps in many places on the web. Wikipedia supplied the 17 steps.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits

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