Have you heard of the hero’s journey? It’s at the core of the mythic structure. Here it is for mysteries! The hero’s journey is an incredibly intuitive story structure. It is the Go To for Hollywood screenwriters. I have adapted the Hero’s Journey for mysteries below.  Hero lives in the ORDINARY WORLD CALL TO ADVENTURE REFUSAL OF THE CALL MEETING OF THE MENTOR CROSSING THE THRESHOLD (to some magical or new world, which is entering the (6) ROAD of TRIALS). At this point, there is no return. The hero faces TESTS, ALLIES, & ENEMIES The APPROACH TO THE INMOST CAVE s a huge test for the hero. There are setbacks, but the hero grows stronger as a result. The CENTRAL ORDEAL is the second major turning point. It is a win for the hero. REWARD Whatever the hero has been after has been ostensibly won. THE ROAD BACK The hero has succeeded in the journey (or so he/she thinks) and heads back toward the …

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Scroll down to watch on YouTube!   That Old Adage Understanding how your fictional characters react is essential to  making them three-dimensional. There is an old adage that says it’s not the situation you face but how you deal with it that defines character. The idea is that 10% of life is what happens and 90% is how we react to it. It’s about our response mechanisms. Are we fight or flight? What is our attitude when faced with adversity? Or how about when we’re faced with a surprise, success, or something else that warrants an emotional response?  Passing the Buck or Taking Control A lot of people are quick to pass the buck when it comes to responsibility for their actions. The attitude of fatalism with these types of people—and with that comes acceptance of the inevitable. These people are at the mercy of their circumstances.  For others, the idea that they have control within the situations they face. …

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Charlie, Marry Me (Owen Wilson, with Jennifer Lopez and Meluma) Summary (from IMBD): Music superstars Kat Valdez and Bastian are getting married before a global audience of fans. But when Kat learns, seconds before her vows, that Bastian has been unfaithful, she instead decides to marry Charlie, a stranger in the crowd. Hero– Charlie Gilbert, an school teacher and head of the mathalon (math club and competition) Ordinary World— Charlie is a divorced dad trying to connect with his daughter, Lou, who thinks her stepdad is awesome. To get out of his funk, friend and coworker, Parker (Sarah Silverman), invites him to go to the Kat Valdez concert with her. Charlie does not want to go. He says he has Lou that night. Parker convinces him to go with the line: “Maybe she’ll think you’re fun.”  Call to Adventure–  Charlie goes to the concert. He ends up holding a sign that says “Marry Me”. Unbeknownst to him, Kat has just found …

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Kat Valdez, Marry Me (Jennifer Lopez, with Owen Wilson and Meluma) Summary (from IMBD): Music superstars Kat Valdez and Bastian are getting married before a global audience of fans. But when Kat learns, seconds before her vows, that Bastian has been unfaithful, she instead decides to marry Charlie, a stranger in the crowd. Hero– Kat Valdez, a singing superstar Ordinary World— Kat is set to marry Bastian in front of their legion of fans, but she’s not sure about it. In some ways, se feels she has lost herself. But the wedding plans are set and the concert where 20 million people will watch her sing Marry Me to Bastian, and they take their vows, is set. Call to Adventure–  (15:00) Kat sees people backstage looking at their phones. She knows something is up. She demands Colin give her his phone learns Bastian betrayed her. Refusal of Call– Kat is stunned. She doesn’t know what to do. She stops the concert and …

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Jonah Byrde (Ozark, 2017-2022 with Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hubiltz, Julia Garner, and Skylar Gaertner as Jonah) Summary (from Netflix): The Byrdes and their teenage kids, Charlotte and Jonah, are, for all intents and purposes, an ordinary family with ordinary lives. Except for the job of Marty, a Chicago financial advisor who also serves as the top money launderer for the second largest drug cartel in Mexico. When things go awry, Marty must uproot his family from the skyscrapers of Chicago and relocate to the lazy lake region of the Missouri Ozarks. Hero– Jonah Byrde (Skylar Gaertner). He’s smart, quiet, introverted. Approximately 11 years old. Ordinary World— Jonah is approximately 11 years old in season one. He’s an ordinary kid living with his parents and sister, Charlotte, in Chicago. Call to Adventure– Jonah’s parents tell the kids they will be moving to the Ozarks. This is the first hint to Jonah that his life may be changing. Refusal of Call– Jonah (and …

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The Hero’s Journey: Top Gun (1986), with Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, TJ Cassidy, Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis Hero– Maverick (Pete Mitchell) Ordinary World– Maverick is a gifted Navy fighter pilot who doesn’t follow the rules. Goose is his RIO. During a flight, they encounter two MiG-28s. Cougar, the pilot in another place, freezes. Maverick performs a risky inverted maneuver to help Cougar.  They are all low on fuel. Maverick is just about to land safely on the carrier when he breaks protocol and directly disobeys orders in order to help Cougar and his RIO land.  Call to Adventure– Maverick and Cougar are the two top pilots. There is a chance to go to compete for Top Gun, which is the best of the best. Refusal of Call– This comes in the form of TJ Cassidy not wanting Maverick to be the one to go to Top Gun. He thinks Maverick is too much of a liability. Meeting the Mentor– Goose acts as mentor …

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We read to escape, and when we read, we put ourselves into the roles of the characters we’re reading about. In a sense, we become them. This is why it is so important for hero characters to be relatable in some way. It’s hard to connect with characters who are not likable. In short, we can’t realistically insert ourselves into the stories and become those characters in our imaginations. Let’s look at the idea of Larger than Life characters. By definition, these people are perceived as bigger, better, more powerful, more magnetic, having more gravitas, and generally being loved, admired, feared, respected to a greater degree than the normal person. When you create your characters, particularly a ‘hero’ character, don’t set out with the intention of creating a Larger than Life character. By doing that, you’re creating a caricature of what you perceive to a Larger than Life character to be. You may end up creating a Superhero or Supervillain. …

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Have you heard of the hero’s journey? It’s at the core of the mythic structure. It basically goes like this: Hero lives in the ORDINARY WORLD CALL TO ADVENTURE REFUSAL OF THE CALL MEETING OF THE MENTOR CROSSING THE THRESHOLD (to some magical or new world, which is entering the (6) ROAD of TRIALS). At this point, there is no return. The hero faces TESTS, ALLIES, & ENEMIES The APPROACH TO THE INMOST CAVE s a huge test for the hero. There are setbacks, but the hero grows stronger as a result. The CENTRAL ORDEAL is the second major turning point. It is a win for the hero. REWARD Whatever the hero has been after has been ostensibly won. THE ROAD BACK The hero has succeeded in the journey (or so he/she thinks) and heads back toward the ordinary world. RESURRECTION is the CLIMAX. The Central Ordeal was a false win. THIS is the true test of the hero’s mettle. This is the moment when …

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