Friday, July 31, 2009

The Approach

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Good day, Writers,

We’ve traveled quite a way toward our goal of learning how to utilize The Hero’s Journey to craft your manuscript. In this posting, we’re going to see how The Approach plays into your story.

The Approach is the part of your manuscript where your hero prepares whatever it is he must do to come to the entrance of the greatest danger he will face. It is here your hero must ready himself to face his primeval fear. He is about to “disappear” into the Belly of the Beast and must be ready or he will surely die. During The Approach is when he defeats the lesser villains and readies himself for the Big Enchilada!

It ends when he stands on the precipice into which he must descend to locate and take hold of the item of his quest. Classical representations of the end of The Approach, as you might imagine, are the mouth of caves, dungeon doors, and the like. Wherever it is, it’s ominous!

Keep in mind your hero need not approach a place. It can be a mental state or even something as innocuous as a party. It’s simply anything that causes ultimate anguish for your hero. However, your reader must be convinced your hero will surely die. (At least figuratively.) Without this ultimate danger, the next step in your story won’t fly.

The Approach is another interesting part of your novel and may be approached, if you will, from a number of different prospective. Here you can work in some appropriate humor, for example. Have you ever heard of people laughing before battle? It’s just another way to handle one’s nervousness. You might even work in some romance, if you’d like. We’ve all heard the line, “We may not survive!” This is usually spoken by the man as he readies for battle or in another form by a character before the meteor strikes. Regardless, it’s a fun part of writing with endless possibilities.

In our example of Luke in Star Wars, A New Hope, can you envision a scene where Luke was on the precipice of some unholy situation? How about when he and his compatriots fret as the trash masher’s walls close in on them? (Being crushed into goo is, by law, a primeval fear which causes ultimate anguish.) Of course, your hero needs to escape and rescue the princess, as literally happens in A New Hope.

Okay, Writers, if you’ve been following along, your novel is at the point where the world is about to explode. Getting exciting, isn’t it?

My next posting will cover the following step your hero obviously must take – The Supreme Ordeal! (This is gonna’ be fun!)

Till then, good writing.


C. Patrick Schulze

Author of “Born to be Brothers”

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