Stories, Uncategorized, writing technique

The Elements of Great Adventure

(With apologies to Joseph Campbell)

“The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected…”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”
– Princess Leia (hologram), “Star Wars: Episode IV”

“We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t see what anybody sees in them…Good morning!…we don’t want any adventures here, thank you! You might try over The Hill or across The Water.”
– Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

“I can guide you but you must do exactly as I say.”
– Morpheus, “The Matrix”

“The Mos Eisley Spaceport, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”
– Obi Wan Kenobi “Star Wars: A New Hope”

“Who would cross the Bridge of Death must first answer me these questions three. There the other side ye see.”
– Bridge-keeper, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

“So what you’re saying is that we go back in time, find two humpback whales, bring them forward in time, and hope to hell they tell this thing what to go do with itself? Well that’s crazy!”
– Dr. Leonard McCoy (paraphrased), “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”

“Now we must brave the long dark of Moria. Let us hope that our passage goes unnoticed.”
– Gandalf the Grey, “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”

“We’ll never survive.”
“Nonsense, you’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
– Wesley and Buttercup (when preparing to enter the Fire Swamp), “The Princess Bride”

“Only after disaster can you be resurrected. It is only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.”
– Tyler Durden, “Fight Club”

This is Prometheus stealing Fire to bring to mankind. The hero will incur great wrath on the part of the enemy Powers arranged against him. And it will not go well at all if he or she is caught. Having stolen the elixir, the hero needs to take the road back to the ORDINARY WORLD as soon as he can. But the Powers will not let the Hero escape so easily, he or she will be chased all the way back.

“Come on buddy, we’re not out of this yet.”
– Han Solo, “Star Wars: A New Hope”

“We thought you were… dead.”
“I was. Now I’m better.”
-Captain Sheridan in response to the Drazi ambassador, Babylon 5 ep. “The Summoning”

Having braved numerous tests and dangers and surmounted seemingly impossible odds, our Hero can now bask in glory and start writing his or her memoirs.
This is also known as the “denouement” when any open plot points of the story resolve themselves.



8 thoughts on “The Elements of Great Adventure

  1. Umm . . . Okay. Not sure how you want us to respond here, GD, but . . .

    The Call to Adventure (Huckleberry Fang; chap. 1):

    I set down again, shaking all over and got out my pipe for a smoke. The house was still as death so the widow wouldn’t know. After a time I heard the clock away off in the town go boom—boom—boom—twelve hard licks—then fall still again. Stiller than ever. Pretty soon I heard a twig snap down in the dark amongst the trees. Something was a-stirring below. I set still and listened. Directly I could just barely hear a meow! meow! down there. That was good. I replied “Meow! meow! as softly as I could and then I blowed out the candle and scrambled out of the window onto the shed. Then I slipped down to the ground and crawled in amongst the trees. Sure enough, there was Tom Sawyer waiting for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. mimispeike says:

    My current great adventure is working though my (supposedly) final revision. It’s slow going, because I have many new notes to fold in, and I work as Ann Dilliard described in A Writing Life: every time she goes to work on a piece, she starts rereading from page one, builds up energy, and tries to hurl herself a few feet further, like a long jumper. This is essentially how I do it. I need to get the feel of the flow. I am on a chapter now where the energy of the transition doesn’t feel right to me.

    I’ll see if I can find a better adventure for you this weekend, pull some kind of rabbit out of some kind of hat.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cormac McCarthy: All the Pretty Horses
    Submitted for your approval: The Call to Action

    You ready? said John Grady.


    They suspect anything?


    Well let’s go.

    Hang on a minute. I just piled everthing on top of the horse and walked him out here.

    John Grady picked up the reins and swung up into the saddle. Yonder goes a light, he said.


    You’ll be late for your own funeral.

    It aint even four yet. You’re early.

    Well let’s go. There goes the barn.

    Rawlins was trying to get his soogan tied on behind the saddle. There’s a switch in the kitchen, he said. He aint to the barn yet. He might not even be goin out there. He might just be gettin him a glass of milk or somethin.

    He might just be loadin a shotgun or somethin.

    Rawlins mounted up. You ready? he said.

    I been ready.

    They rode out along the fenceline and across the open pasture-land. The leather creaked in the morning cold. They pushed the horses into a lope. The lights fell away behind them. They rode out on the high prairie where they slowed the horses to a walk and the stars swarmed around them out of the blackness. They heard somewhere in that tenantless night a bell that tolled and ceased where no bell was and they rode out on the round dais of the earth which alone was dark and no light to it and which carried their figures and bore them up into the swarming stars so that they rode not under but among them and they rode at once jaunty and circumspect, like thieves newly loosed in that dark electric, like young thieves in a glowing orchard, loosely jacketed against the cold and ten thousand worlds for the choosing.

    Take a look at that last paragraph again. Anyone want to sneer? Mock? Point fingers and babble on about how “self-indulgently overwritten” and “purple prosy” that breath-taking demonstration of “the art of the sentence” is?

    Let’s hear that again:

    “. . . which carried their figures and bore them up into the swarming stars so that they rode not under but among them and they rode at once jaunty and circumspect, like thieves newly loosed in that dark electric . . .”

    McCarthy is a master. If you can’t hear the power and the poetry in that line, if you feel a more minimalist, vanilla sentence could get the job done as well as the singing diction he’s adopted here–I feel sorry for you. I honestly do. I weep for your cement-headed aesthetic sense, which is about as finely-honed and balletic and adept as a mead-drunk Neanderthal attempting cunnilingus on a passing hummingbird.

    PS. NOT addressed to any current members of the Co-op but rather another in a long line of missives to the world-at-large: a stinging slap of my gloves to the face of Bland Bannon, the blank-faced idiot god of minimalism.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s