Every writer has a unique process in crafting a story. Susan Wiggs, one of my favorite contemporary romance authors, builds a story visually through the art of collaging. Nora Roberts is what we writers call a pantser. She starts with a story concept, or maybe just one character, and writes the first draft until it is done. She might have an idea of where she is going, but how she gets there remains a mystery until the words are written. Plotters write an entire outline down to the last scene before starting the first draft. A great writer and friend of mine once said, “I’m almost ready to write the first draft. I just have to complete the character arc for the dog.” She was being funny at the time, but she knew where she was headed! My stories tend to take shape from moments…scenes that I plug into the only constant on the road to discovering my writing process…The Hero’s Journey.
Years ago when I first joined my local New Jersey Romance Writers Association (NJRW) a series of articles appeared in the Newsletters on the 12 stages of The Hero’s Journey. I was hooked. Since that time I have studied the works of Joseph Campbell who first identified the twelve journey steps. I then moved on to The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler who took a closer look at The Hero’s Journey specifically for writers and screenwriters.
We writers have what we call “ah-ha” moments. A few months ago I attended a Six Stage Plot Structure workshop given by Michael Hauge. In part this was an in-depth screen writer’s interpretation of The Hero’s Journey. The day turned into more than an “ah-ha” moment for my writing and my life. When something impacts you so strongly, you can’t help but what to share it with others.
My Six Stage Plot Structure Blogging Plan
Over the course of the next several weeks I plan to take a step by step look at the Six Stage Plot Structure as taught by Michael Hauge. In doing so, I will draw examples from films and television, my current Young Adult work in progress, Forbidden Signs, and my life. This idea as a writing exercise excites and terrifies me at the same time. Even so, I’m going to make a commitment to see this through. It would be easy to back down from this challenge, but the very first piece of information conveyed in the workshop is also the very reason why I will complete this task: The Hero’s Inner Journey is the journey of transformation from living in fear to living in courage.
Next week I plan to look at the Identity and Essence of a Hero.