Hi! Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. Lately I've been making videos about writing, but I've missed posting here.
Today I would like to talk about the Call to Adventure.
If there is one plot point that is common to all stories it’s the Call to Adventure. Why? Because all stories—at least all narrative stories—are ABOUT something. They are about someone, the hero, overcoming (or attempting to overcome) various increasingly troublesome obstacles in order to achieve a goal. Further, the attainment of this goal would make both the protagonist and his community better.
For example, in the movie Alien Ripley wants to kill the monster in order to save both herself and everyone else -- although by the end “everyone else” amounted to the cat!
The relation between the Inciting Incident and the Call To Adventure
In the last three videos we looked at, first, the hero’s original condition, his status quo as well as the rules society expected the hero to follow. Then something happens, something that significantly and irrevocably changed the hero’s world. Further this change was like the release of an arrow, one heading straight for the protagonist's heart.
I’ve used Star Wars: A New Hope as an example so I thought I would continue with it.
In Star Wars, Darth Vader boards Princess Leia’s diplomatic craft in an attempt to find the plans for the Death Star. This prompts Lea to hide the plans in R2D2’s memory along with a holographic plea for help, a hologram which Luke glimpses.
This change in Luke’s world -- as well as his glimpse of a mysterious and beautiful Lea -- causes him to follow up with Old Ben, at which point Obi Wan asks Luke to help him bring the plans back to Alderaan.
I hope I've communicated something of the relationship the Call to Adventure has to the other parts of the story.
The Inciting Incident is the anomaly in one’s carefully constructed map of the world -- it is the crouching dragon. The call to adventure, on the other hand, is an explicit offer to the hero to do something about it.
One More Thing: The Cost/Sacrifice
Accepting the Call to Adventure will involve a significant sacrifice on the hero’s part. When Obi Wan asks Luke to help him take the blueprints to Alderaan Luke is both very excited by the prospect and reluctant. Yes, Luke is a skilled pilot and has always wanted to leave the backwater world he grew up on to explore the galaxy but that would mean leaving the only place he had ever known. He didn’t want to leave his friends, his droids, his nice safe life.
The Call to Adventure always demands a sacrifice. In Luke’s case, it would mean leaving everything he knows and loves behind. This is why the hero usually refuses the call.
In my next post I will talk about rejecting the call to adventure and how that usually ends in disaster.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I'll talk to you later. Good writing!
I've made this into a YouTube video:
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