Carrot Ranch Communications

Home » Raw Literature » Hero's Journey » Finding the Cave

Finding the Cave

Help Grow the Ranch & Create an Imprint!

Contact

Text or email anytime.
wordsforpeople@gmail.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,475 other followers

Archives

Follow me on Twitter

Bloggers Bash Fan

Bloggers Bash

S.M.A.G. Kindness Among Bloggers

S.M.A.G., Norah Colvin, @NorahClovin

Proud Member

For Early Childhood Educators

readilearn, Norah Colvin, @NorahColvin

Tips for WritersApril feels like it’s going to be an easy month, if there are ever such declarations. Easy in the sense that my first manuscript is now in the care of someone else.

No more tweaking, second-guessing names, plot and character development. It’s whole, revised and under review. The review I’ve requested from my editor at Write Divas is to assess the hero’s journey. Is it working?

To me, a story’s strength is in nailing the journey of the hero from call to adventure to final transformation. I like stories and I’ve always been drawn to narratives that focus on this age-old cycle. The hero’s journey is what I love to read and tell. It’s what I chose to write.

So, I look for this cycle in all stories whether in books or on the screen. Since it is the beginning of my easy month, I watched a movie this weekend, “Gravity.” And I was delighted to recognize the hero’s journey.

Without spoiling the movie, I’ll just relate a few points. The journey is small compared to “Star Wars.” But that’s the beauty of the archetype; it can be contained in a small story. The setting is vast, of course, as it opens in space with the hero (Sandra Bullock’s character) orbiting earth on a mission to install a piece of engineered hardware.

Her reluctance to accept the call (to adventure) is understood with her ambivalent attitude toward her space walk. She’s there to do a job. Space? Earth below? So what. What follows next is typical–the tensions of challenges, the revelation of a mentor, the approach to the cave.

Ah, the cave. Finding the cave for a character on the hero’s journey can be tricky. The cave is a metaphor for the hero being forced to face what is happening. To be a hero she must first refuse the call. Because the hero refuses the call yet life keeps sending her trouble, the cave becomes that inward reflection of “do or die.” Death isn’t always imminent, but it reflects a major loss if the hero doesn’t become the hero.

In “Gravity,” the cave is literal. Sandra Bullock is tucked up in a small, confined space that all but yelled, “cave!” And she had her most important choices to make in that space. It is a major shift in the progression of the movie.

Reflecting on my own novel, I wonder if I did not enclose my protagonist in her cave as clearly. This thought is a revelation to me and probably what ‘s been nagging at me about my own story. Finding the cave means leaving your character in discomfort (and your reader) until a decision is made. It’s not about plot twists; it’s about character evolution.

Now I realize that I will be using my easy month to reflect on the cave and how I might better define it. Watching movies like “Gravity” that deftly defines the hero’s journey will help.


12 Comments

  1. Yay! Congrats on getting off your MS to your editor.

    Like

  2. Annecdotist says:

    Interesting, Charli, I haven’t come across the concept of the cave before. But, if I’m understanding you correctly, I have used it in my own fiction: the protagonist (don’t think I could stretch to calling mine heroes) finds themselves in a dark place that feels like a trap but it’s only from here that the solution can be found.
    Thanks for giving me something to ponder

    Like

    • Charli Mills says:

      That’s the place, Anne. I have recognized it in some of your stories that I’ve read. I think the cave is also called other names–the abyss or the supreme ordeal. I like heroes that are not heroic in the idea of being “super.” Everyday people, or even flawed, broken people who make a decision that transforms their path…like your character who was running away from her stalking mother, but drives back and sees how flawed and frail that mother truly is. Thank you for your insightful comment!

      Like

  3. Norah says:

    Hi Charli,
    Congratulations on handing your manuscript over to someone else. i hope they take good care of it. Enjoy your easy month. I’m sure you will find plenty to fill your time.
    Like Anne I hadn’t heard of the “cave” reference before, but am certainly familiar with the concept.
    Best wishes for your manuscript.

    Like

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks, Norah! I trust it is in good hands but I also understand that the work of an editor is to find errors and gaps. Funny how I realized this gap after I sent it off. I’ve also seen the cave called other names (abyss or supreme ordeal). I’m fascinated with the hero’s journey in stories, especially unlikely heroes.

      Like

  4. Diana Wenzel says:

    I find this concept of the cave fascinating. I’ve been living it without even knowing it.

    Like

    • Charli Mills says:

      You have been living it! Diana, you would have loved this Franciscan retreat that I went on several years ago. We studied the hero’s journey in writing and on our last day, our workshop leader revealed how the retreat was such a journey. I left with a whole new idea of writing and writer as hero. It gave me the courage to quit everything and go write! You’ve taken up that same journey and I see it in your writing.

      Like

  5. sylvestermouse says:

    My life has been a definite journey of interesting “plot” twists and I have certainly had my own cave battles. I will say though, there is nothing more glorious than emerging from the cave with renewed hope and direction.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Support the Writers at Carrot Ranch

Congress of the Rough Writers, Carrot Ranch, @Charli_Mills

New from Sacha Black!

13 Steps to Evil by Sacha Black

New from Anne Goodwin!

Underneath, Anne Goodwin, @Annecdotists

New from Ruchira Khanna!

Breathing Two Worlds, Ruchira Khanna, @abracabadra01

New from Sarah Brentyn!

Hinting at Shadows, Sarah Brentyn, @SarahBrentyn

New from Geoff Le Pard!

Salisbury Square, Geoff Le Pard, @geofflepard

From Susan Zutautas

The Day Mr. Beaver Met a Moose, Susan Zutautas, @susanismyname

From Ann Edall-Robson

Moon Rising, Ann Edall-Robson, @AnnEdall-Robson

From Luccia Gray

Eyre Hall Trilogy, Luccia Gray, @LucciaGray

From C. Jai Ferry

Skeleton Dance, C. Jai Ferry, @CJaiFerry
%d bloggers like this: