Before I get started reviewing chapter 26 from The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke I wanted to give you another opportunity to enter my book giveaway. With permission from Jeff Gerke I am giving away a FREE copy of The Irresistible Novel to a lucky reader as a way of thanking you for sticking with me through my weekly reviews of the book’s contents. So if you love to write, have interest in writing, or if you are looking for some expert advice on writing follow the instructions below and enter to win The Irresistible Novel.
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In the last three chapters of Gerke’s book he investigates three formulas for fiction writing that have stood the test of time. The first he explores is Joseph Campbell’s theory of the Monomyth founded in 1949. The Monomyth is also sometimes called The Hero’s Journey.
“The hero’s journey is the classic coming-of-age story, which (most of us would attest) is the ultimate tale of struggle.” (Gerke 182)
The following are elements of the Monomyth: (*Not all are found in every Monomyth story)
- The Call to Adventure-the main character is met with some type of call or realization of the greater world outside of the mundane where they are found in the exposition.
- The Refusal of the Call– No matter how much they pined for something greater some characters will be reluctant to accept the call to adventure and may need some extra convincing.
- Supernatural Aid-Once the character is ready a mentor appears to offer aid and assistance to the main character (example: Dumbledore in Harry Potter)
- Crossing the First Threshold-In order for the character to move toward their adventure there is some type of literal or metaphoric boundary to be crossed that will cost something of themselves to be left behind.
- Belly of the Whale-an unwelcome turn of events which prepares the main character for what lies ahead.
- Road of Trials– A place of constant testing of the main character and where at some point your character will be met with failure. However, that character will be changed as a result of having failed and will emerge victorious.
- Meeting with the Goddess-somewhere in the journey the character is awakened for their desire for romantic intimacy by finding their perfect match. True love doesn’t come easy though and just like Ariel struggled to win Prince Eric because of her loss of voice the character must go through trials before they are able to win the affection of the god or goddess of their journey.
- Woman as the Temptress-The main character must fight to keep their main focus as their emotions and romance may tempt them to settle before the main battle is won.
- Atonement with the Father-This is the hero’s moment of enlightenment. When they are face to face with the ultimate being or father figure in the story and they are initiated with anger, cruelty, or some other sobering force.
- The Ultimate Boon-The climax of the external conflict, this moment is when the good guy wins. The hero is victorious.
- Refusal of the Return-After achieving victory the hero must return home to his village and his people. This would complete the there-and-back-home-again arc. Sometimes characters initially refuse to return to the mundane after such a remarkable journey, but in the end they must return to share their experiences and strength with those left behind.
- Magic Flight-Sometimes the journey home is quick and forcibly so. Even though the main action is concluded there may only be a few minutes til midnight and the character hasn’t much time to make his journey.
- Rescue From Without– When divine intervention helps a hero return home. (Not to be confused with dues ex machina when the author solves all the problems and the character does nothing but accept good news.)
- Crossing the Return Threshold-also known as “Returning with the Elixir” this portion of the story shows the character back in the setting where he was first found on page one but this time instead of being a worthless contributor to his community the hero is now equipped to save his homeland or people. Not everyone will welcome the hero with open arms, but he is home for those who will.
- Master of Two Worlds-The character learns the mundane world and the supernatural are one in the same. They may even have access to travel back and forth in the future. This reminds me of the ending of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when the four children return again and again to Narnia.
- Freedom to Live-The hero is free to live with confidence without fear of any kind because he has lived his fears and returned victorious.
This chapter is so insightful for the pacing and sequencing of a Monomyth. As I read each section I was reminded of exemplary stories or movies that so perfectly use the tactics outlined by Joseph Campbell. All of life is a Monomyth (or so we like to think) and ALL readers identify and lose themselves in a coming-of-age tale about a hero for we all long to be that hero.
The Ameri Brit Mom