The mentor represents a wise figure whose purposes include protecting, teaching, testing, guiding, and training the hero. In meeting with the mentor, he provides the hero with something he needs to take on the Hero’s Journey, sometimes multiple times. In meeting with the mentor, the hero gains the knowledge, confidence, and supplies that he needs in order to start the adventure.
Meeting with the Mentor
There are a lot of stories that tell of the relationship between the hero and the mentor. Mentor’s hold a vital force during the key moments of the hero’s story.
Sources of Wisdom
In some cases, there may not be a specific character playing the role of the mentor. If this is the case, the hero almost always needs to find some source of wisdom before he takes on the adventure. This may involve the hero finding wisdom within himself, or they may simply consult a map of the adventure. Either way, your hero will (or should) want to know exactly what he’s taking on.
Avoiding the Cliched Mentor
The mentor archetype is a character that the audience will be extremely familiar with. The mentor appears in dozens upon dozens of stories. For this reason, it’s very easy to let your mentor become cliche, or fall into a stereotype. So, defy the typical archetype. Don’t allow your mentor to become a fairy godmother, or an old man in a pointy hat. Make your mentor completely out of the norm, or do without him altogether and see what happens.
Conflict Between Hero and Mentor
If the hero is ungrateful, or prone to violence, the relationship between the hero and the mentor can take a turn for the worst. Other times, the mentor becomes the villain and betrays the hero. If utilized correctly, this can be an interesting turning point in the story.
The mentor has a strong influence on the hero’s decisions, if only for a short time. Sometimes, the mentor only has a passing influence, but this influence is critical to get the hero moving and undertaking the journey ahead of him. Whether presented as a character, or not, this archetype is critical to get the story moving.
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In the Refusal of the Call, the hero has to decide whether or not he wants to accept the call. This should be a difficult decision for him, he’s being asked to enter into a great unknown. To undertake an adventure that’s riddled with danger. At first, his answer will probably be no.
Refusal of the Call
This temporary refusal alerts the audience that the adventure ahead will be risky. The hero is gambling with his life and his fortune by taking on this journey. This part of the story will force the hero to examine the adventure carefully, and decide if it’s really worth it.
Believe it or not, it’s natural for the hero to at first avoid the call, or at least to express reluctance. This reluctance should continue until some kind of stronger motivation comes into play. This could be the death of a loved one, the hero’s sense of honor, or love of adventure.
The hero will have a number of excuses as to why he’s refusing the call. They basically state that they would take on the adventure were it not for a pressing series of events (that may or may not exist). These are temporary excuses that are usually worn away by the urgency of the quest.
Persistent Refusal and Disaster
If the hero persistently refuses the call, it could lead to disaster. Continued refusal is one sign of a tragic hero. The situation around the hero can become worse and worse, until he finally decides to take up his calling. He may lose loved ones, face the destruction of the city, and more.
If the hero is facing more than one call, he may have to choose between them. The Refusal of the Call is the time for the hero to delegate between two difficult choices.
The refusal is usually a negative moment in the Hero’s Journey. However, the refusal may sometimes be a positive or wise decision. Sometimes the call takes the form of temptation, or an evil summons. In this case, the best move on the hero’s part is to say no.
While many heroes will express reluctance, there are some that will show a complete willingness to take on the adventure. This hero might have already passed his fear of death, or he might simply yearn for adventure.
If the hero does in face accept the call, there’s a character archetype that might further hinder him. These are called the threshold guardians. These characters are powerful figures that will question the hero, and raise fear and doubt. They will do what they can to test the hero’s worthiness for the quest before it even begins.
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Categories: Character Development, Story Development Tags: a progressive writing guide, character arc, hero's inner development, hero's journey, hero's journey steps, myforgottenpen, refusal of the call, the hero, the hero's journey, tragic hero, writing a book, writing a manuscript, writing guide, writing help, writing tips
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