In mid August, I went to the RWA writers conference in Perth and attended Kim Hudson’s workshop on “The Virgin’s” journey. “The Virgin” being an archetype that describes the heroine in most romantic fiction. Kim proposes that “The Virgin” makes her journey through twelve story turning points. In her workshop she illustrated much of this using well known romantic comedies. My kind of genre! Her work actually expands the work of Joseph Campbell who developed the original twelve step journey for “The Hero” (another archetype) for general fiction.
Anyway, so why am I relating all this mumbo jumbo to you? Well, I would like to introduce a third archetype to the mix. Let’s call her, “Loretta Hill.” This archetype, describes the typical struggling writer, dreamer by day, word smith by night, always looking for a way to make her life easier – mostly to no avail.
Anyway, if I were to plot this particular archetype’s twelve point journey this last week. I would have to say, it went something like this.
1. Loretta is trapped by her Dependant World. She realizes that she has a novella to submit to her publisher by November and she’s still in holiday mode. Eeeek!!!
2. The Price of holiday mode is an angry publisher, disappointed readers and an unimproved bank balance. Groan.
3. But she has an Opportunity to shine, by using the techniques just discovered at Kim Hudson’s workshop so,
4. She decides to leave her comfort zone and for the first time in her life : PLOT a book to make writing it go faster.
5. In this new Secret World where she’s a plotter not a panster, she is able to plot the journey of “The Virgin” on paper until she notices that,
6. Her heroine Doesn’t Actually Fit “The Virgin” archetype profile. In fact, “The Virgin” archetype is more appropriate for the male lead in her story. In desperation she…
7. Digs up Joseph Cambell’s twelve point journey for “The Hero” and uses this to plot the journey for her heroine. It works well, and now compliments or Collides perfectly with the journey she has plotted for her male lead.
8. With her two beautifully plotted plans, she feels Inspired and sits down to write. The words fly off her fingers as inspiration soars until she realizes,
9. Shit! She has deviated from both her plotted story plans after just six sentences and created Chaos.
10. Oh well, too bad. She feels so much better in this Wilderness and the words flow, from zero to five thousand.
11. By ten thousand words, she has to confess, “Once a panster, always a panster.” But at least,
12. In this New World where she accepts who she is, she realizes that maybe it would be better to use archetypes for inspiration rather than plotting.