The hero has survived both the Ordeal and the Resurrection; he has lived through death. Now the hero gets to return to his starting place, go home, or continue the journey. The hero will now proceed with an awareness that they are commencing a new life that will never be the same.
Return with the Elixir
A true hero will bring something back from the special world to share with others. Something that may even have the power to save a wounded land, or bring order and prosperity. At the very least, he’ll implement change in his daily life, and use the lessons he’s learned on the journey to heal wounds.
There are 2 ways to end a story. There’s the circular ending and the open-ended ending. The circular form of storytelling is the most common in Western culture, and offers a feeling of closure and completion. The open-ended story form, however, tends to leave unanswered questions and unresolved conflicts.
Circular Story Form
This is the most popular form of storytelling, where the story moves back to its original starting point, and leaves no question unanswered. A circular plot provides a way to tie up loose ends and make the story feel more complete.
Having the hero return to the starting point will give the audience a point of comparison. They will be able to see how your hero has changed, how the old world loods different now, and how far that hero has come. Once the hero has returned, some writers will put the hero through an experience that may have been impossible for the hero at the beginning of the story.
Open-Ended Story Form
With an open ending, there will still be a few loose ends. This means that the storytelling continues even after the story is over. This can leave a lot of room for speculation, allowing the story to go on in a number of ways. Open-ended storytelling does a better job of portraying the world as an imperfect place. Not all questions have an answer.
Functions of the Return
The Return with the Elixir is fairly similar to the Reward phase of the journey. Both phases follow a death and rebirth sequence, and both relay the consequences of surviving death. However, this part of the story is the writers last chance to relay emotion to the audience. Be sure to finish the story in a way that has an emotional impact on the audience.
A twist towards the end of a story can liven up an otherwise flat ending. Consider adding some sort of plot twist that will surprise the audience, adding some amount of excitement.
Reward and Punishment
Another function of the Return with the Elixir is to hand out any rewards and punishments that may be due. This will restore balance to the story, and give it a feeling of completion. Villains should fall to their ultimate fate, but they shouldn’t fall too easily. Their punishment should correlate directly with the sins they’ve committed, providing the story with a sort of poetic justice.
Hero’s should also get what they have earned. Their reward shouldn’t be too great. The gifts they receive should instead be directly proportionate with the sacrifices they have made. The hero may even be punished in the return, if they have made no progress or sacrifice, or if they have failed to learn any lessons from the journey.
The Elixir is the real key to writing a successful return. What will the hero bring back from his journey to share? And how will it benefit his ordinary world? Regardless of who the hero shares it with, the Elixir will prove that the hero actually undertook the journey, and that death can be overcome. The Elixir can be literal or metaphoric, but the hero should have something to bring back.
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Categories: Character Development, Story Development Tags: character arc, character development, elixir, hero cycle, hero's journey, journey of a hero, return, return with the elixir, the elixir, the hero, the hero's journey, the ordeal, the resurrection, the return, the reward, the villain, villains
The hero must now make a choice. He has to decide if he wants to stay in the special world or go back to his ordinary world. While the special world may have its charms, it’s rare for the hero to decide to stay there. Most will elect to begin the journey home, some will take on a brand new destination.
The Road Back
This part of the story represents the resolve the hero has to return to the ordinary world. He’ll want to put the lessons he’s learned to use.
The hero has just finished celebrating, and he has to re-dedicate himself to the journey. The hero is currently in a place of comfort, and he must now pry himself away from it. He must remind himself of his ultimate goal, and cross another threshold. This new threshold may cause of change of focus for the story. Nevertheless, the hero has to work up the motivation to cross it.
If the hero did not completely defeat the villain, the villain may come back angry, and even stronger than before. This will eventually result in a sort of “final battle” and a climax to the story.
The hero may be forced to leave the special world because of a chase that ensues after the hero defeats the villain in the Ordeal.
A chase scene can ensue because the villain attempts to escape. In this scenario, the hero(s) are doing the chasing.
The hero may experience a number of setbacks and challenges on his journey home, as if his luck has been reversed. These challenges may even appear to doom the adventure, as if the hero won’t be able to attain his goal and make it home after all.
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Categories: Character Development, Story Development Tags: character development, climax, climax of the story, conflict, hero, hero's journey, heroes journey, ordeal, ordinary world, return, reward, road back, special world, the climax of the story, the hero, the hero's journey, the heroes journey, the ordeal, the resurrection, the return, the reward, the road back, the villain, villain
The Return is the third and final phase of the Hero’s Journey. This blog post will outline the three parts of The Return, including: The Road Back, The Resurrection, and The Return with the Elixir.
This phase involves the hero’s journey home, and the powers and knowledge that he acquired during the journey.
Part 1: The Road Back
After The Reward part of the story has been celebrated, the hero must make a choice. He needs to decide if he wants to remain in the Special World, or make the journey back to the Ordinary World. The majority of hero’s will make the decision to return home, even though the Special World has its charms. Some hero’s will do neither. They’ll either continue their journey or seek a completely new destination.
Part 2: The Resurrection
This part of the story is challenging for both the hero and the writer. The hero must experience another sequence of death and rebirth in order for the story to feel complete. It’s fairly similar to The Ordeal, with subtle differences. Essentially, this is where the climax of the story occurs, and it will be the final, most dangerous meeting with death.
Part 3: Return with the Elixir
This is the final part of the story, where the hero has lived through death, and survived all ordeals. The hero’s have made a decision, either to return home, stay where they are, or continue their journey. They will feel as if they are commencing a new life that will never be the same because of what the hero has experienced. The hero will always bring something back with him.
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