I read various blogs and bulletin boards every day. I’m always looking for something new to improve my writing.
While I was away, I still read and researched. The best thing I found was over at The Krystol Method‘s blog. She posted a bit about the story structure behind Russian folk tales. I encourage all the writers to go read it.
Kristol doesn’t claim this as her original work, but let’s face it – it’s where I found it first.
I assumed it would be another spin on the hero’s journey. It was, but it was different too. I’m not above mixing story structure elements, and might have some hero’s journey, some fairy tale, and now a trick from a Russian folk tale.
I keep a living document on my iPad. It has all kinds of writing data, including story structure elements. I made a ton of notes about this article.
One of the things I try to do is relate a story element to a story or movie I already know. I like the fact that these stories begin with something missing. Many of the stories I read involve pending asteroid doom, or a murder. Something missing is a nice change. I relate this to Belle’s missing father. She talks Beast into taking her instead.
I also like the trickery and deceit. Johnathan Harker in his innocence helps Dracula relocate to London. He helped cause some of the problem.
There is a part called villainy and lack. The antagonist damages something and makes it personal for the hero. Dracula kills Lucy, and makes a play for Mina.
The sidekick is pretty standard in the hero’s journey, and it’s in the Russian folk tale too. Only here, it sounds like the sidekick is earned. Harker kind of earned VanHelsing.
I didn’t see any mentors in this style. No Miyagi or Gandalf. I like a good mentor, and will include one anyway if my story calls for it.
In the folktale, the hero gains a powerful object, and this leads to allies. It’s pretty far from Russia, but I saw young Arthur pulling the sword from the stone. He gained allies, and armies started moving.
I’m skipping ahead, but there is a pursuit by the antagonist. I couldn’t come up with anything. The best I had was Harker and VanHelsing chasing Dracula back to Transylvania. This is backwards. Help me out here. My notes need another example.
There is a section where a final challenge awaits once the hero comes home. In my mind, this is Ulysses stringing his bow and showing up his wife’s suitors.
There are also doubters and false claimants to best. I’m still with Ulysses here. On the other hand, I see that guy from Beauty and the Beast. The one that belches and farts better than everyone else. He doubts Belle’s word and suffers defeat.
So here’s the deal. Help me improve my living document with a few examples. Check out Krystol’s post and give me some suggestions.