At the writers conference a week ago, I was honored to get into Darcy Pattison’s workshop, “Using the Hero’s Journey to Enhance Your Novel.” Darcy is amazing, and so spot-on in her craft of writing suggestions. I highly recommend her books, CDs, or attending her novel revision workshop (which I sincerely hope to do someday).
Darcy based her talk (tweeked to that which only Darcy can do) on THE WRITER’S JOURNEY, by Chistopher Vogler. At the conference, I bought two copies — one for me and one as a gift. This post is paraphrased from Darcy’s talk. Formulas are meant just guides.
The big picture (of your story) is in three Acts: Act One (approx 8 chapters) is the set up; Act Two (approx 16 chapters) is the twists and turns; and Act Three (approx 8 chapters) is the resolution.
Act One Objectives: show the hero in his/her ordinary world, call to adventure, refusal, crossing the threshold.
Act Two Objectives: tests, enemies, allies, approach to inmost cave, supreme ordeal, reward.
Act Three Objectives: the road back, resurrection, and return with elixir.
Darcy used BRIDGE TO TERABITHA for her example throughout the workshop, with some mention of the original STAR WARS. Some of my own favorite fantasy stories which also follow this “formula” are THE HOBBIT, LOTR, and THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. The formula works!
On to work on my own writing. <deep and heavy sigh> Writing is such hard work.