Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens tomorrow (well, there will be special showings tonight!) and I promise I’ll be there. There are the special effects, and the stirring music, and the familiar characters and settings. But all of these things are merely in service to the story, and when that story is expressed clearly and creatively, a BILLION people worldwide respond by buying tickets.
It is the Lifewriting position that this core story can be extracted and used not only as a “plot” or “structure” guideline, but also used to guide the PROCESS of writing a story, and further, the actual path of your life. Last Saturday we analyzed a story using the “Hero’s Journey”, Joseph Campbell’s explanation of this pattern (somewhat modified by yours truly, so that it works in all three arenas), and if you haven’t listened, please do yourself a favor!
You will hear me go through all of the steps in relation to the story (the “War Artist”, a good one!) but you’ll profit by also reading the story and asking your own questions.
You’ll hear me address the following questions:
- HERO CONFRONTED WITH A CHALLENGE. Who is the hero? What is the challenge she faces?
- REJECTS THE CHALLENGE. What negative emotion blocks her or slows her?
- ACCEPTS THE CHALLENGE. What motivates her to move through the challenge and begin her process of change?
- ROAD OF TRIALS. What ACTIONS does she take to solve her problem? Where does she go? What does she do?
- ALLIES AND POWERS. Who helps her along the way? What capacities does she have that enable her success? What does she have to learn, and how does she have to grow?
- CONFRONT EVIL–DEFEAT. What is the greatest barrier she encounters?
- DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL. What are the negative emotions that swarm up and engulf her, rob her of her strength?
- LEAP OF FAITH. What external or deep internal strength or resource helps her through this moment?
- CONFRONT EVIL–VICTORIOUS. What internal or external demons does she defeat, and what is the reward?
- THE STUDENT BECOMES THE TEACHER. What is the lesson? What higher or deeper level does she expand to?
Note: this pattern is very broad. Subtler stories will use a portion of this pattern, or invert it, or minimalize or exaggerate it–this is where the “craft” of writing comes in.
But the “art” of writing is in CONNECTING THIS EXTERNAL STRUCTURE WITH YOUR OWN INTERNAL JOURNEY. Finding the metaphorical truth that will resonate deeply with your readers.
So…write a story about YOUR OWN journey to write a story…or any other struggle in your life. Find these steps. Emphasize them until you can see the connections.
I challenge each and every one of you to do that.
Then…if you really want to thrive, CREATE A “STORY” ABOUT THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, looking at:
- The challenges you will face
- The fear you will feel
- The motivations to move through the resistance
- The actions you will take
- The resources and strategies and allies you will need to gather
- The major barriers that others have hit along their paths to accomplish similar goals.
- The nature and intensity of their depression and despair
- The type of faith or commitment that beat that fear
- The way others crashed through those barriers
- The joy of moving to the next level.
Do this, actually imagining the steps, researching the prices others paid, committing to the process, taking the actions and mastering your emotions…you will build a new and better life.
(I actually created the world’s only self-improvement book based on Star Wars and other famous Science Fiction/Fantasy films. Get your copy on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/2gP9myj)