Using the Hero’s Journey template from the first half of the exercise I have come up with my own plot. I think it’s probably best as the outline to a short story, but could make a sweet film. My Hero’s Journey focuses around a female lead character called Betty. Betty is a travel agent who is afraid of travel, or more accurately the unknown. The story really focuses on how she overcomes her fears to lead a more free life.
Ordinary World: Betty is a travel agent who lives in small flat in London. Her world is her job, helping other people reach their dream destination. Her world is entirely predictable, she shops in the same places, see’s the same people she always has etc.
Call to Adventure: Betty’s Travel agency is part of a larger firm. The firm is running a competition to acknowledge the ‘best travel agent’. Unbeknownst to Betty she has been nominated by her manager. Inevitably Betty wins the competition, the prize however is an all expenses paid trip to Umbria, Italy.
Refusal of the Call: She refuses to take the prize, finally admitting to herself and her boss that she has never been abroad because she is afraid of what might happen. She continues to carry on working, doing her best to ignore that feeling of disappointment.
Meeting with the Mentor: A man in his late twenties visits the shop she works in. He, Peter, wants to book a trip to Umbria, Italy. He has severe anxiety and has been wanting to take this trip for years. Betty feels able to open up to him about the prize. He convinces Betty to go with him to Umbria, saying he will help her overcome her fears.
Tests, Allies, Enemies: Everything is a test for Betty. A test of her resolve, but also of her courage. It takes courage for her to take her first flight, the taxi to the hotel. Staying somewhere unfamiliar overnight is a huge test. Peter is obviously the first of her allies, but she meets another named Sophia. Sophia finds Betty having a panic attack in a local store. She calms Betty down and helps her back to the hotel. The two become friends. Betty’s enemy has been with her all along – her anxiety and fear of change. It rears it’s ugly head throughout the trip!
Approach to the Inmost Cave: Betty is feeling demoralised and wants to return home. She feels like she must complete one activity alone before returning. She has always wanted to see one particular town in Umbria. She plans a trip to this town.
Ordeal: Along her journey to the town she becomes lost. She asks a stranger for directions, he deliberately misdirects her, and she becomes even more lost.
Reward: She refuses to give up and despite being alone and lost, continues on. The stranger’s direction leads her to a beautiful elevated view of the countryside and town below. He directed her to a view which allowed her to see all the town but from a different perspective. She also gains new faith in her ability to manage the unknown.
The Road Back: Betty’s journey back home gives her time to re-access her life, as she travels she comes to an epiphany.
Resurrection: Betty’s Resurrection is a new life, new job – as a travel guide in Italy. She finally gets to travel to all the places she studied and put the Italian she learnt at University to good use.
Return with the Elixir: The Elixir for Betty is a transformed view of herself, and freedom from her anxiety. She is able to share this and help others, including Peter.
Notes on process:
At first I found this task really difficult, I didn’t know where to begin. I feel like art and creative writing for me a strongly linked to drawing from personal experience. I didn’t know how to write something really fantasy based or comical. But I know what it’s like to experience anxiety and to have to find ways to overcome it in the everyday activity of life. I used this as my idea for the story outline.I don’t think it’s a masterpiece of creative writing but I do think it makes good use of the metaphor’s in the Hero’s Journey by putting them in a very human, down to earth scenario.
I also took some time to create an image to go with this post, using some photo’s from my own trip to Italy when I was a teenager. I used Photoshop to do this, it’s not perfect but I enjoyed doing it and it helps me not to forget all the things I learned to do in my graphic design module.