The Hero’s Journey

Wizard's First RuleWith the exception of  The Hobbit, The Lord of The Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia (which I got started on before I reached double digits), I haven’t read very many fantasy books.  I’m not sure why.  I loved both of them.  They took me to places my normal reading choices don’t go.  At one of my brother’s suggestion, however, I recently started reading Wizard’s First Rule, the first book in Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth series. It took me a few pages to get into it, but I’m now thoroughly hooked.

A month or two ago my father sent me a link to a writing resource: Hero’s Journey. It’s a webpage that outlines for writers the steps a typical hero takes throughout their journey. I found the resource really interesting and although I seemed to inherently realize and incorporate many of the aspects of a hero myth, I also realized ways in which my ‘heroine’ was missing a few key steps that could strengthen the work, making it more believable.  In reading Wizard’s First Rule, in which the steps of the myth are so much more clearly represented (actually dealing with a hero, a magical world, enemies, etc.), I’m seeing the way in which the values of the myth, the way the steps affect the inner workings of the character’s mind, are so crucial to creating a hero or heroine who people can root for and connect with, truly wanting to follow them on their journey.

As I’m finishing the first draft of the novel I’m working on and about to do my first full read through; seeing what needs to be added, removed, and rearranged, I don’t think I’ll be adding any epic battles or wizards to the story of a young woman from rural Nova Scotia, but I will try to be more aware of the inner journey she takes and the outside influences that need to help shape that journey.

And who knows, if I get fully engrossed in the world of The Sword of Truth  maybe novel number two will actually have a magical world, fights to the death, and a dragon or two!

* Fellow writers – any stories of ways in which you’ve had fun incorporating the hero myth into works in a modern setting?

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