This month on the blog we're blogging about heroines (in honor of Women's History Month).
Coincidentally, I've been taking a 10-week class on the Hero's Journey (through SCBWI New York: Eastern Upstate) with the remarkable Kelly Going (aka K.L. Going). Along the way, we's also been learning about the Heroine's Journey.
THIS journey is what has been missing in my investigations of the Hero's Journey.
It's as if something has always felt out of balance when I've tried to explore writing through this lens. It made me feel like I had ying, but no yang. Or visa versa.
It's not that learning about the Hero's Journey isn't amazing and helpful, but something about it has always felt a little bit like trying to push a square peg into a round hole. My stories did not easily fit into the scaffolding of the Hero's Journey with the same ease that they do for other people.
I just automatically assumed I wasn't very good at understanding it.
But now, as I'm digging into THE HEROINE'S JOURNEY by Gail Carriger, it almost feels like my innate sense of story telling has found its organic structure. This is my sweet spot and I'm breathing a sigh of relief with every turn of the page.
I highly recommend this easy to read and entertaining book, but here are some highlights to get you further intrigued...
* "Biological sex characteristics are irrelevant to whether a main character is a hero or a heroine."
--Wonder Woman (the 2017 movie) is a Hero's Journey.
--Harry Potter (Books and Movies) are a Heroine's Journey.
* "The Heroine's Journey is NOT simply the Hero's Journey undertaken by a woman--it's narratively different, not biologically different."
* "What the Heroine's Journey defines as strength, power, and success is diametrically opposed to the way these concepts are viewed in the Hero's Journey."
*Hero: Concerned with defeating an enemy.
Heroine: Looking for reunification with someone who was taken from her.
*Hero: Always on the offensive--His enemy is stasis.
Heroine: Builder, delegator, communicator, information gatherer--Her enemy is loneliness or isolation.
*Hero: Sheds the restrictions of civilization and family to go it alone.
Heroine: Requesting aid is a sign of strength, the more people on her team, the stronger she is.
*Hero: Sacrifices too much for the journey so the end is bittersweet, lonely, and the hero usually finds himself outside the group.
Heroine: More likely to have a happy ending while surrounded by family and friends.
*Your story can be a mishmash of the two different journeys.
* "There is no shame in storytellers employing either narrative. There is shame when an entire culture of storytellers and critics value one narrative over the other."
If you've never heard of or explored the Heroine's Journey--Women's History Month is the perfect time to dig in.
But if you're already well aware of this other face of story telling, I'd love to hear what you think about it. I'm also intrigued to know if your writing leans one way or the other. Or even what your favorite Hero or Heroine story/movie is. I'm dying to have these conversations.