The Heroine’s Journey: Stage Nine- Full Circle: Return to the Perfect World

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Well, we did. We have finally reached the end of the heroine’s journey. It’s been a long and winding road due to life and work obligations, but I have enjoyed exploring this story structure with everyone. In fact, part of the reason this series has taken so long is because I have been using this model with my own novel.

Last time, I talked about the “rebirth” moment for our heroine. At Stage Eight, she finds her inner strength and conquers the big bad. Everything she has learned throughout this journey has paid off and she has fully transformed into the woman she is meant to be. But her journey is not yet complete. There is still one stage she needs to pass through before her story reaches its end.

According to Victoria Lynn Schmidt in her book 45 Master Characters: Mythical Model for Creating Original Characters, Stage Nine is when our heroine “returns home to see just how far she’s come.” Though she has achieved her goals and undergone a transformation, she still has one more test to pass. Can she return to the place where her story began without falling back into the old habits of Act One?

Schmid refers to this stage as a “smaller climax” for our heroine. She reunites with her old world and old allies, seeing them for what they truly are. Often, the people she interacted with in Act One are inspired by her transformation and have undergone changes themselves. However, our heroine can no longer completely identify with her old life. She is in a better place now emotionally. She has seen the world and is ready to share her experience with others.

In The Hunger Games, Katniss returns to District 12 a victor along with Peeta. She is given a hero’s welcome and is put up in a new house with her mother and sister. She does her best to assimilate back into civilian life, but it’s impossible. Katniss is forever changed by the her experience in the arena and cannot view her world the same. However, Katniss’ impulse to survive doesn’t leave her, but she isn’t struggling to provide for her family anymore. She is now becoming the face of a rebellion and doing her best to protect her family, friends, and District 12 from President Snow’s wrath. Katniss’ sister Prim is inspired by her performance in the Hunger Games and decides to help out with the rebellion. Fire is catching.

This is the end of the Heroine’s Journey/Feminine Journey model. I would love to do more posts on story structure in the coming weeks.

Until next time, kill your darlings, slay your dragons, and keep writing.

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