WordPeddler on the Hero’s Journey

Welcome to the WordPeddler’s Society Book Recs

Week of — January 18th

An Article from DJ Cooper

What is the Hero’s Journey?

More importantly, as a reader; why do you care?

How the hero fits into the apocalypse.

In many books set in the Apocalypse the hero goes on a journey to save themselves, their loved ones, and even the world, but why as a reader do you even care about this journey?

What Is the Hero’s Journey?

Asking authors to follow a hero’s journey isn’t meant to be some kind of hook or mystery. It simply means that authors need to make the reader (and the reader’s needs) the driving force of the book. The author is a facilitator and mentor. The reader is the hero. After all, who hasn’t dreamed of saving the world? As a child playing games where you were Superman or Wonder Woman? TV shows depict the hero’s journey in all its facets and we watch them rooting for our… what? Our hero.

They have a journey and that journey is the books you read, they will follow that journey until they reach the end [or at least an ending that will lead you to the next great journey]. Most will follow this journey, fighting with every ounce of strength to the bitter end.

Our hero can come in many forms and from many genres. I personally write Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Fiction and love the hero’s journey. It can be seen in most of my books. While I love the theme of ‘Dude with a Problem’, and we will be seeing this soon in a coming series. For a hero and when we think about themes this is probably one of the most common themes.

Here are 8 universally used archetypes for the hero’s journey discovered while searching out the Hero’s Journey. Can you recognize these in your favorite stories?

Along with a specific plot structure, the hero’s journey has a repeating cast of characters, known as character archetypes, and here are the eight most common.

  1. The Obvious Hero – The hero is the audience’s personal tour guide on the adventure that is the story. In my Chaos series, Jace is our hero. An unwitting one and one that really struggles with his role as the hero.
  2. The Mentor – The hero has to learn how to survive in the new world and in apocalyptic books this is oftentimes incredibly fast, so the mentor appears to give them a fighting chance. The mentor will assist the hero in navigating this new world and offer tips, maybe gear, or insights. The Insurrection series not only has an unwitting hero but a great mentor and book one is FREE from January 19-25th.
  3. The Ally – The hero will have some great challenges ahead; too great for one person to face them alone. They’ll need someone to distract the guards, hack into the mainframe, or carry their gear. Plus, the journey could get a little dull without another character to interact with. One of my personal favorites is Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings, where would Frodo be without Sam?
  4. The Herald – The herald appears near the beginning to announce the need for change in the hero’s life. They are the catalyst that sets the whole adventure in motion. While they often bring news of a threat in a distant land, they can also simply show a dissatisfied hero a tempting glimpse of a new life. Occasionally they single the hero out, picking them for a journey they wouldn’t otherwise take. In my Chaos series, Jace finds his herald is the impending birth of his son. The child facilitates the need for a shift in his life. Little did he know that the change would take place in the middle of an apocalypse.
  5. The Trickster – The trickster adds fun and humor to the story. When times are gloomy or emotionally tense, the trickster gives the audience a welcome break. Often, the trickster has another job: challenging the status quo. A good trickster offers an outside perspective and opens up important questions.
  6. The Shapeshifter – The shapeshifter blurs the line between ally and enemy. Often they begin as an ally, then betray the hero at a critical moment. Other times, their loyalty is in question as they waver back and forth. Regardless, they provide a tantalizing combination of appeal and possible danger. Shapeshifters benefit stories by creating interesting relationships among the characters, and by adding tension to scenes filled with allies.
  7. The Guardian – The guardian, or threshold guardian, tests the hero before they face great challenges. They can appear at any stage of the story, but they always block an entrance or border of some kind. Their message to the hero is clear: “go home and forget your quest.” They also have a message for the audience: “this way lies danger.” Then the hero must prove their worth by answering a riddle, sneaking past, or defeating the guardian in combat.
  8. The Shadow – Shadows are villains in the story. They exist to create threat and conflict and to give the hero something to struggle against. Like many of the other archetypes, shadows do not have to be characters specifically – the dark side of the force is just as much a shadow for Luke as Darth Vader is.

When reading some of the great books listed on the blog try to find these elements and see how they shape the way we read. Like a game see if you too can decide which characters fit which roles to our heroes and how does it affect your perception of the story?

About the Author

DJ Cooper is the Bestselling author of the apocalypse with her latest series of books “Chaos.” It all started with the Dystopia series of books and continued on to other works. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Science in Marketing, Master of Fine Arts in English/Creative writing with a concentration in teaching. She studied Graphic Design and designs book covers as well.

She spends time working with other indie authors through Angry Eagle Publishing and Authors of the Apocalypse. A prominent figure in the preparedness community with Prepper Podcast Radio Network and The National Self-Reliance Project.

Find out more at https://authoroftheapocalypse.com

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