The Call to Adventure is the second part of The Hero’s Journey, where the adventure is initiated. It has also been called the Inciting event, initiating incident, trigger, or catalyst. Regardless of what you call it, something has to happen to get the story moving. There are a number of ways that the Call to Adventure can occur. These methods can range from a message/messenger to some kind of disastrous event that forces the hero to take action.
Call to Adventure
There are a number of events that might move the hero into action. Those events may not even be caused by outside forces. It might be a desire that’s boiling inside the main character. Because of this, choosing the right event is key.
String of Events
A series of events/accidents may force your character into action. Most of these events/actions/words/accidents will be coincidental, and will inspire your character to take on the adventure.
Temptation might be just the right element to get your hero to take action. Temptation could include the lure of a lover, treasure, knowledge, or exploration. The desire for something might be just the thing your character needs to start his adventure.
The Call is often delivered to the hero by a character archetype called the Herald. Regardless of the Herald’s personality, he’ll always perform the same role. It’s the Herald’s job to initiate the call to adventure, and to get the story moving. A lot of the time, the hero doesn’t realize that there’s any need for change in his Ordinary World. He remains in a state of denial, and relies on crutches that he doesn’t see to stay happy. The Herald is present to kick away those crutches, and make the hero realize that he’s actually unstable. The hero will often have a difficult time in the beginning determining if the herald is good or bad.
Sometimes the Call to Adventure occurs because of the villain. The villain might invade the Ordinary World and start asking questions about the hero, or survey the area for any threats. This can sometimes alert the hero, forcing him into action.
Lack or Need
Sometimes the Call appears in the form of a lack or a need. This lack can come from the loss of anything precious, and the need to get that precious thing back.
The hero may take on the adventure because he doesn’t have any other options. The situation might become increasingly dire, until the hero just doesn’t have any choice but to take on the adventure. People in his world may even become fed up with him, and force him out.
For Tragic Hero’s, the Call may not be a positive summons, drawing the character out. It may instead come in the form of a warning of the Hero’s demise, a failed adventure, or doom.
Because stories often have a number of layers, or a certain amount of complexity… they may contain more then one Call. If necessary, don’t be afraid to include more then one. Do what you have to to get the hero out of his comfort zone.
For more information, try reading:
Categories: Character Development, Story Development Tags: about writing, call to adventure, character archetype, character development, herald, hero's journey, hero's journey steps, heroes journey, how to write, how to writing, main character, ordinary world, story development, the herald, the hero, the hero's journey, tragic heroes, writing ideas, writing lessons, writing tips
The Ordinary World describes the very beginning of the Hero’s Journey. This is the world that the hero is accustomed to before he moves on to his adventure. In the Ordinary World, the writer must try to set the tone of the story, hook the reader, and suggest where the story is going. In this part of the story, the writer must establish the world the hero is living in before the Call to Adventure occurs. In this blog post I’ll outline what the writer should try to include in the Ordinary World.
The Ordinary World
Remember, as the storyteller it’s your job to serve as a guide to the story. In the Ordinary World, you must set the tone of the story and introduce the hero. You must do this in a way that catches the reader’s attention, and keeps him reading.
In the Beginning of the Story
The writer faces a slew of creative choices. Consider all the “firsts”. This includes title, the very first sentence, paragraph, the very first line of dialogue, etc.. You may feel that you need an introduction or prologue. Whatever you decide, make sure that it benefits the story and capture’s the readers attention.
The title serves as an important clue as to what the story is going to be about, and what direction it’s going to take. It could also serve as a metaphor for a number of things within your story. Choose your title carefully.
The Opening Scene
The very first image that you create serves as a powerful tool to suggest the mood and tone of your story. It can also tell the reader where you plan to take the story. It can work as a metaphor, or present the theme of the story. There’s a number of things that the opening scene can represent, so consider how that image will effect the reader, and why it might be interesting.
If you choose to add a prologue, give it a purpose. Some prologues add a little bit of backstory or purpose before the story begins, others introduce a threat. Whatever you choose for your prologue, make it meaningful. Give it purpose.
Ordinary World vs. Special World
A lot of stories have “special worlds” that they take the hero into. It’s because of these “special worlds” that we writers need to work to create an “ordinary world” to establish the story. Without the ordinary world, the special world ceases to seem so… special. This is because the Ordinary World serves as a basis for comparison. It lets the readers know the definition of ordinary in your story.
The writer should do his best to make the ordinary world as different as it possibly can be from the special world. This will allow the hero (and the audience) to experience a dramatic change once they cross the threshold into the special world.
The ordinary world is a great place to foreshadow future events in the special world, such as future battles and moral dilemma’s.
The Dramatic Question
The majority of great stories pose some kind of dramatic question about the hero. The ordinary world is a great place to pose that question. The question could be about the hero’s flaw(s), if he’ll complete his ultimate goal, and a number of other things. Try posing that question in the ordinary world, and try to have it answered by the end of the story.
Inner and Outer Problems
The hero should have both inner and outer problems. Outside problems are usually a little easier to formulate. What challenges in the outside world will directly hinder the hero from his ultimate goal? Inside problems might be a little more difficult, but a hero without an inner dilemma tends to come across as flat, and boring. The character isn’t quite as round. Not to mention, the inner problem makes the hero seem more human and believable. That’s a good thing.
Making an Entrance
How the hero is introduced is important. This is how the reader first experiences your hero. It tells the reader what kind of person your hero is (at least in the beginning of the story), and establishes if the reader is going to love him or hate him as the story progresses.
What’s at Stake?
If you want the readers to care about your hero and your story, you should let them know early on what’s at stake. What does the hero stand to lose? What are the consequences if the hero succeeds, or fails?
If you must reveal the hero’s backstory, the ordinary world is the best place to do it. Don’t go into too much detail about the hero’s past, just reveal all the relevant information, and do it in a way that’s natural to the story. Whatever you do, don’t allow the story to stop moving because you feel you have to provide a history lesson. Do your best to integrate the information into the story’s context.
You’ll also need to establish the story’s theme here. Try and reveal what the story is really about. The theme is something that’s laid out in advance to determine a future course.
For more information, try reading:
Categories: Character Development, Story Development Tags: back story, backstory, call to adventure, contrast, departure, departure phase, dramatic change, foreshadowing, hero, hero's journey, heroes journey, inner and outer problems, inner problems, line of dialogue, main character, making an entrance, mood and tone, opening scene, ordinary world, ordinary world vs special world, outer problems, prologue, special world, the dramatic question, the hero's journey, the ordinary world, theme, title
This is the start of a series of blog posts discussing The Hero’s Journey. I first brought up the Hero’s Journey in my last blog post concerning the Character Arc, and I thought it might benefit some people to go into further detail about the subject. Note that this is a rather large topic, and I’ll only be able to cover so much of it in this blog. If you’re interested, and you’d like more in-depth information, try reading:The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition.
This blog post will summarize the Departure phase of the Hero’s Journey, which will be expanded into five parts: The Ordinary World, Call to Adventure, Refusal of the Call, Supernatural Aid, and Crossing the Threshold.
This blog article is part 1 of The Hero’s Journey, and will outline the Departure phase. The Departure phase regards the Hero’s Journey before the quest, and it has 5 parts.
Part 1: The Ordinary World
The Ordinary World is all about creating an atmosphere for the story. When the story is still in the Ordinary World, try focusing on the title, the very first image (or opening image), the prologue (if you feel that you need one), contrast, foreshadowing, inner and outer problems, dramatic question, making an entrance, and introducing the hero (which contains many elements in itself.) It may sound complicated, but don’t panic. This is where you establish the story.
Part 2: Call to Adventure
The Call to Adventure has also been referred to as the Inciting Incident, or Inciting Event. This is where the story picks up, and the adventure begins. The Call to Adventure usually occurs as some sort of large event. A messenger, declaration of war, etc.. The elements may include synchronicity, temptations, change, reconnaissance, disorientation/discomfort, lack/need, no options, warnings, or more then one call. This, really, is where the story begins.
Part 3: Refusal of the Call
In this part of the story, the hero responds to the Call to Adventure. Keep in mind that your hero is being asked to say yes to a difficult and unknown passage. His natural response, at first, should be to hesitate, and say no. This is the best way to inform your audience that the adventure head is going to be dangerous. This part of the adventure may include avoidance, excuses, persistent refusal/tragedy, conflicting calls, positive refusal, artist as hero, threshold guardians, secret doors, and questioning the journey.
Part 4: Meeting with the Mentor
The mentor’s service to the hero may include: protection, guidance, testing, training, and providing magical gifts. In this stage of the journey, the hero gains the knowledge and confidence he needs to overcome fear and begin the adventure. This part of the journey may include: hero’s/mentors, sources of wisdom, misdirection, mentor/hero conflict, and critical influence.
Part 5: Crossing the Threshold
The hero now stands at the very threshold of adventure. This is the hero’s most crucial action, beginning the adventure. This part of the story may include: approaching the threshold, threshold guardians, the crossing, and a rough landing.
Categories: Character Development, Story Development Tags: call to adventure, character arc, character development, character traits, characters, creative writing, crossing the threshold, departure, different personality types, hero cycle, hero's inner development, hero's journey, journey of a hero, make a character arc, myforgottenpen a progressive writing guide, mythic structure for writers, personality traits, phase 1, refusal of the call, supernatural aid, the hero's journey, the ordinary world, the writers journey, write, writers, Writing, writing guide, writing help, writing tips