The second stage of every story is the first of two twilight zones. The twilight zones lie between the beginning and the middle and between the middle and the end of a story. They are most interesting because they are riddled with duality and contradiction. It is the hero’s choices in these moments that determine the success or failure of his/her story.
This first twilight zone is often referred to as the Debate stage. Either the hero is in conflict with the people around him or he is racked with internal conflict.
Our own story class heroes had a bit of both, but it was the internal conflict that was most revealing last Tuesday as we explored the debate stage of our story.
Again there are 3 elements that can help you structure this part of your story:
1. Refusal: The hero resists change, but if the crisis is not addressed, it could pose a threat to the group. But… (obstacle 1: personal resistance – the hero doesn’t want to go)
2. Meeting the Mentor: The hero overcomes reluctance; sometimes leaders take action to save the hero and the community. Because of this …(a mentor appears to help and guide them, perhaps through giving them a magic item)
3. Crossing the threshold: The hero commits to change. Harmony is restored or the group regresses into crisis.
And so… (the hero goes)
We started the night with Queen Elizabeth’s celebration in full swing. She followed Jamimah’s plan to hold a celebration for Lord Charles’ victory over Id and his vikings. She also invited Lady Mariana, who assisted Charles in the fight. But she was not interested in honouring her. She wanted to make her jealous because she wanted to entrance Lord Charles and make him notice her, the Queen of most of the Land of Isle.
Jamimah is singing one of her most popular numbers as the guests watch in delight. But to the side Charles and Mariana are talking with each other. They are both noticing a change in the land: why this sudden onslaught from Id? Why this unusual celebration? They would rather go back to their regions to ready themselves for further battle. All is not well. Jamimah is worried that her plan is not working and tries to interrupt the conversation.
But while all this is happening above ground, someone else is present.
Under the palace in the catacombs of the unused dungeons lives a little old lady with her cats. Ouma Nollie had been living here for a very long time talking and listening to the echoes in the chambers under the earth. She loves the queen’s parties because she can sit under the main floor vent and bathe herself in the music. But she is not prepared for what is about to happen…
Above ground the queen is seething with jealousy and frustration because she is not succeeding in capturing the attention of Lord Charles. This is why she is left vulnerable when the first Dragon from Gigantica strikes…
As the palace is set ablaze by the fiery breath, Charles automatically takes charge. He orders all guests into the dungeons for safety while he himself takes cover to save what he can and find out what is happening.
In the dungeons everyone is struggling with their emotions and in the dark Ouma Nollie clutches her cats to her bosom.
Charles soon returns with the devastating news that the palace and surrounding buildings (including Jemimah’s villa) had been badly damaged. Everyone must save what they can and return to meet in the dungeon for a meeting to decide what to do.
Soon they are back together, but it is clear that everyone is struggling with internal conflict:
1. Charles looks like he is in charge and knows what to do, but inside he is overwrought with doubt and uncertainty.
2. Elizabeth wants to get up and fix everything, take control and work her power, but she was caught in a vulnerable position and finds herself needing help for the first time in many years. Will her father’s memory guide her?
3. Jemimah brings her rescue remedy for coping with the situation as well as a means of killing herself in case it does not work. She does not know whether to face the prospect of staying in the dungeons for a while, or escaping into oblivion.
4. Mariana is tempted to stay behind and stay passive, but she had really made her choice when she first road to battle with Charles. Now even the meeting seems like too much of a hastle, she wants to be on the road.
5. Ouma Nollie wants her solitude and yet something in her urges her closer to the group. A need to be heard, a need to share…
Ouma Nollie is the natural Mentor for the group with her wisdom and her years and insight into the meaning of the echoes. So here is how we will start our next class:
Still unaware of Ouma Nollie’s presence, everyone is together to discuss what needs to be done. As the debate reaches a peak they hear a cough and a mieaauw out of the shadows….
If I get your character or your part of the story wrong, please comment on this blog and fix it!!
See you next week as we cross the threshold with Ouma Nollie’s wisdom and start the adventure in earnest.