Story Structure #18: Act I, Stage 5: Crossing the First Threshold

Saying goodbye to the Ordinary World. Bring on the Special World.

What is the Special World?  It’s the world of the challenge. The unfamiliar. The alien. The world where the heart of the journey takes place. Our Hero commits to an adventure, and the Special World is the arena for that adventure, with new rules, new companions, new lessons to be learned. It is where the growth takes place, where our Hero works out the changes that he’s undergoing. The Special World is the new landscape that our Hero must muddle through and master.

Crossing the First Threshold

  • Threshold to the Special World, or Act II
  • Crossing Threshold = Plot Point or Turning Point
    • Could be a quick moment or longer scene
  • Crossing over is a pure act of will – wholeheartedly committing to the Adventure
  • Stakes suddenly higher
  • No turning back!
  • Threshold Guardians, able to appear anywhere, tend to cluster around doorways, gates, and narrow passages of threshold crossings
    • Some must be ignored or pushed through
    • Some must be absorbed or their hostile energy must be reflected back at them
    • Some just need to be acknowledged or recognized
  • Crossings should be noticed as a shift in energy
    • Possibly an actual crossing – river, gorge, ocean, door, bridge, etc.
    • Possibly a mood change or visual contrast
    • Single moment or extended passage – doorway vs. ocean – either are acceptable
    • Leap of faith needed (courage) – Irrevocable act!
  • Adventure begins in earnest
  • Story is like an airplane in flight
    • Act I is process of loading, fueling, taxiing and rumbling down runway
    • First Threshold is the moment the wheels leave the ground
      • It may take a while to adjust to being in the air, but we’re there!

It’s time to really get rolling now. We’ve left the point of no return in our wakes, and our Hero has set a course for adventure. Excitement ahead!


A printable version, for your reference, can be found here: Stage 5: Crossing the First Threshold

To view a chronological listing of the posts in this series, continue below:

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