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The Real Journey Begins!

Joseph Campbell called it “The Hero’s Journey”

Screenwriting guru Robert McKee calls it the quest and frames it like this:

“For better or worse, an event throws a character’s life out of balance, arousing in him the conscious and/or unconscious desire for that which he feels will restore balance, launching him on a Quest for his Object of Desire against forces of antagonism (inner, personal, extra-personal). He may or may not achieve it. This is story in a nutshell.”

When I took classes with McKee, he framed the story in a simpler manner as a push/pull or back and forth for the main character.

So, there was a stasis (normal day), then something happened (inciting incident), and then the protagonist/character/hero is thrust forward and works to get back to a place of stasis. As they step forward, forces – within their head, from another person, or in the outside world – push them back.

So, they push forward.

And are pushed back.

And they push forward, and they are pushed sideways or back.

And they move forward.

And they move forward.

And they get pushed back.

And they move forward.

And they get pushed back

Etc., Etc., Etc.

(Quick question – has your life ever felt this way? Exactly!!)

Now, for us to stay interested, we must feel like the hero can attain some semblance of relief/release in their Quest. We must care to see them get to the destination, or get the girl or boy, or get the insurance company to pay for the accident as they should.

Finally, the protagonist hits a crisis moment “. . . when he must make a decision to take one action or another in a last effort to achieve his object of desire.” (--Robert McKee, Story)

It is this crisis in the story that causes the story’s climax.

Next week!

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