Thursday, June 20, 2013

Teaching Point of the Week: I'm Not a Hero

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.  
~ Christopher Reeve

It came out in Monday's AM class that the whole structure model with the idea of a heroic hero isn't really working.  At least for this writer, hard at work on her own memoir.

"I just don't consider myself heroic," she said.  (I'm paraphrasing here).

This is not the first time this writer has mentioned her discomfort with the four part structure model so I know it's really important to her (and I'm really glad she keeps telling me).

How about this.  Scrap "Hero," and "Heroic."  Replace with "Narrator," and "take action against adversary."

The story, especially in a memoir, is about you.  This means you are the one to watch (from the reader perspective). Through the four part structure, you will introduce yourself (pt1), you will make a decision (pp1), you will be skill-less (pt 2), you will learn (pt. 3) and you will make decisions that are solely your decisions and overcome inner/outer demons (pt. 4).   

At the end of your book, you will be the one who takes action without the aide of anyone else.  You are the sole agent who makes some bold move and overcome, at some level, your inner demons and the outside adversarial force. 

A helpful way to see your own "action against adversary," is to take the time to outline the story you want to tell by writing a 10-20 description of the whole thing.   We may not be able to see the moment in our own story when we "take action against an adversary," but the moment is there, usually about half way or three quarters in.  We blow by it because out own story is often too familiar to us.  We don't see the nuances.   This is another reason to stay in class!

NOTE:  This is a terrific video (thanks Larry Brooks) on The Hero's Journey:

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