Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Crossing the First Threshold

This is Part 4 of my series on monomyth, or the hero’s journey.

1. Crossing the first threshold is the transition from Act 1 to Act 2 of your story.

Up to this point, your hero is still connected to her ordinary world. In many models of mythic structure, the first part of the story is referred to as “separation,” the second “initiation” and the third “return.” Crossing the threshold is the final separation from everything that is familiar to the hero and begins her initiation into a new world–the world of the adventure.

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The Symbiotic Relationship Between Character And Plot

It kind of aggravates me when people—writers included—differentiate between plot-driven and character-driven stories. Basically, because character and plot are not mutually exclusive entities. When people say character-driven, they usually mean stories that feature characters sitting around and talking a lot. They think of these stories as basically plotless. I’ve heard Kevin Smith’s film Clerks cited as plotless. Certainly, for a good portion of the film, characters do a lot of talking. They don’t go anywhere but the store where the main character is a clerk. But . . . stuff actually does happen. And that’s all that plot means—what happens … Continue reading The Symbiotic Relationship Between Character And Plot

Seven Things You Need To Know About Deus Ex Machina

1. What it means: deus ex machina is Latin for “god in the machine.” It’s a literary term that dates back to the time of the ancient poet Horace. Greek tragedies would sometimes resolve plays by having one of the gods come down from Olympus (on a crane, hence the term machine) and tell the characters how to resolve their problems and conflicts. Today, the term is used to describe a plot contrivance where someone or something other than the main character(s) brings about the resolution of the story. 2. What it’s not: a catch-all phrase to describe any plot … Continue reading Seven Things You Need To Know About Deus Ex Machina