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Intro to Storytelling, Part 2

Do you need to go back to part 1?

Day 46

1. Watch the video about tests, allies, and enemies.
2. As they mention in the video, this stage of the story usually takes up a large part of the story. In some storytelling structures, this part would be the middle, which encompasses about 50% of the story. (The beginning typically takes about 25%, the end the other 25%.)
3. Let’s take a look at “The Hobbit.” After Bilbo crosses the threshold and enters the special world, he has many adventures.

  • Encounters trolls that want to eat him and his friends, gains a sword
  • Visits with friendly elves who provide information about a map
  • Captured by goblins and encountered Gollum, gains a magic ring
  • Escapes the goblins with the help of giant eagles
  • Encounters Beorn, who provides supplies for the next stage of the journey
  • Travels through Mirkwood Forest where he and his friends suffer from hunger, spells, giant spider attack, and are finally captured by unfriendly wood elves
  • Escapes the wood elves by smuggling the dwarves in barrels down the river
  • Encounters the people of Lake-town, who provide supplies for their journey to the mountain where the dragon is

4. Next let’s look at Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. After he rides the train to Hogwarts and enters the special world, he faces tests, allies, and enemies.

  • Faces the sorting hat and is sorted into Gryffindor
  • Encounters Snape as an enemy
  • Learns to fly a broom
  • Draco challenges him to a duel, but instead Harry is almost caught out of bed and finds a giant three-headed dog
  • Faces a troll with Ron to save Hermione
  • Receives an invisibility cloak and faces the mirror of Erised
  • Investigates the sorcerer’s stone and gains clues about it
  • Helps Hagrid smuggle out a baby dragon
  • Is sent to the forbidden forest to find who or what is drinking unicorn blood

5. As you can see, this section of your story has a lot in it. We will spend the next few days developing this section of your story.

Day 47

1. We are going to begin to develop the Allies, Tests, and Enemies section of your story. You should already have an idea for a character to serve as an ally. Today, brainstorm ideas for enemies. Write your ideas in your document, “Hero’s Journey Exercise.”

Day 48

1. You know your ally, you know your enemies: today we are going to brainstorm ideas for the tests. Take a look at the lists on day 46. These are all the adventures the characters had BEFORE their final climactic confrontation. Think about the special world you imagined. What cool things did you imagine your character would see, do or encounter there? This is the time to explore that.
2. Brainstorm at least 9 tests or adventures for your protagonist to have. Write your ideas in your Hero’s Journey document.

Day 49

1. Today we are going to review your story up to this point. Open your document “Hero’s Journey Exercise” and read through your notes from the beginning. Make changes if needed so that your story plan makes sense. Choose from the test ideas you came up with yesterday. Choose at least 3, and put them in order. Your exercise should be starting to sound like a real story!

Day 50

1. Watch the video about the approach to the inmost cave.
2. The Inmost Cave is where your character will face their greatest ordeal yet. They have to cross another threshold and this time the threshold guardians are stronger. Your hero should be more prepared for this due to the tests they faced, enemies they overcame, and allies they gained in the previous stage. They may have new equipment, weapons, or special powers that will allow them to succeed. For example:

  • Bilbo was able to enter Smaug’s lair because he had the Ring, which he gained from Gollum in the goblin’s mountain.
  • Harry Potter was able to reach the room containing the Sorcerer’s Stone because he had been learning spells all school year, plus he had help from Ron and Hermione.
  • In Star Wars Luke is able to save Leia and escape the Death Star with help from C-3P0, R2-D2, Han and Obi-Wan.

3. In your document “Hero’s Journey Exercise,” brainstorm a plan. What threshold guardians are blocking your hero from facing their ordeal? What tools, allies, or abilities that your hero gained during the previous section will help them overcome the guardians? Write down your ideas in the document.

Day 51

1. Watch the video about the Shadow archetype.
2. Open your document “The Hero’s Journey” and write the four motivations of the Shadow underneath ‘Ordeal.’
3. Brainstorm! What kind of Shadow character can you have in your story? What is their motivation? What goal of the hero are they blocking or preventing? Why? Write down your ideas in the document “Hero’s Journey Exercise.”

Day 52

1. Watch the video about the Ordeal (also called the Abyss).
2. Take a look at this article about the ordeal for more examples and insight into it.
3. The ordeal has also been called a false climax. Your hero thinks that this is the biggest challenge they will have to face – all of their trials and tests have been leading up to this point – but there is something bigger looming in the distance. For example, in “The Hobbit,” Bilbo believes that the confrontation with the dragon is the biggest challenge that he will face, but once the dragon is killed it turns out there are bigger problems. (The huge hoard of gold sparks greed in the dwarves and five armies come to battle over it.) In “Star Wars,” Luke thinks that the biggest thing he has to worry about is getting out of the Death Star alive, but Obi Wan dies and they still have to figure out how to destroy it.
4. Brainstorm ideas for your character’s ordeal. What goal have they been working towards this whole time? What do they think will achieve it? How can you plunge them into darkness and have them change into a better version of themselves that can face the bigger challenge in the distance? Write your ideas in the “Hero’s Journey Exercise.”

Day 53

1. Watch the video about seizing the sword.
2. Scroll down to 1. Special Weapon and read through the five types of rewards your hero might need.
3. What form does the reward take in the story you are creating? How is this reward going to help your protagonist reach their ultimate goal or overcome their ultimate enemy at the end? Write your thoughts in the “Hero’s Journey Exercise.”

Day 54

1. Watch the video about the road back.
2. For more information, visit this page and scroll down to more “More Conflict, Higher Stakes.”
3. Open your document “Hero’s Journey Exercise” and brainstorm ideas for this stage of your story.

Day 55

1. Watch the video about the resurrection.
2. For more information you may look at this article. (Scroll down to, “It Begins with the Highest of Stakes.”)
3. Open your document, “The Hero’s Journey,” and write the components of the resurrection segment as shown in the video.

Day 56

1. Open your “Hero’s Journey Exercise” document and brainstorm ideas for the Resurrection segment. Take a moment to go back and make sure your ideas make sense with the Ordeal and the Road Back.