This post is part of a series of posts sponsored by SCBWI Florida Tampa Bay area writers. We invite you to join us in this online book study of THE WRITER’S JOURNEY: MYTHIC STRUCTURE FOR WRITERS, Third Edition by Christopher Vogler
Book 2, Pages 142-175
Contributor: Cheryl Mansfield
Now that our hero has passed tests and gained allies, it’s time for Stage 7: Approach to the Inmost Cave. Here the hero will make final preparation for the central ordeal ahead.
Nearing the midpoint this stage may involve:
- An actual location, where danger lurks
- An inner conflict, that the hero has not had to face until now
- Here the hero makes their final preparations before taking the leap into the unknown.
- Final gathering of information or belongings needed for the journey.
As the stakes rise now, the doubts and fears that came up at the beginning of the journey may resurface. In order to find the courage to continue our hero may stop and think about all they have already been through.
One inside the deepest part of the Inmost Cave, the hero has reached what Joseph Campbell called "the real heart of the matter” – Stage 8: The Ordeal. In this stage the hero hits bottom and faces one simple truth—he must die so that he may be reborn. But first he must confront an opposing force. There are several ways for this to happen:
- The hero appears to die.
- The hero witnesses death
- The hero causes death
This moment will change the hero, he will be reborn. Known as the “Black Moment” this stage is a crucial, tension-filled time for the reader. They have come to identify with the hero. What happens to the hero happens to them, as well.
Having cheated death, the hero now reaches Stage 9: Reward. Here he takes possession of the treasure he sought. The treasure may be tangible, or perhaps reconciliation with a loved one. There may be a love scene or marriage. Heroes are recognized as special, part of a select few who have cheated death. Since only gods are exempt from death, our hero has become part of an exclusive club. Joseph Campbell calls this “initiation”, a new beginning in a new rank. The hero is a new creature.
Meet Today’s Contributor—Cheryl Mansfield
Cheryl Mansfield writes chapter books and middle grade novels. She’s published biographies with Apprentice Shop Books.