Story Structure #20: Act II, Stage 7: Approach to the Inmost Cave

We’re coming through all the tests, making good with all the new experiences, and the time is coming for the real struggle. As it draws near, our Hero will take a little break to rest up and save up his strength. There might be a nice bonfire scene, relaxation and jollification before the great battle that the morning brings.

Approach to the Inmost Cave

  • Final preparations for the central Ordeal of the Adventure
    • Taking time to plan, recon, reorganize, fortify, arm themselves
      • Last laugh, final cigarette, one last kiss
    • Get Ready!
  • Romance may develop here
  • Approach may be bold, or not
    • Approach, though it may be confident, should be tempered with humility for balance
  • Credentials of experience may be needed to pass through several stages
    • Make allies – they may prove useful!
  • Emotional appeal can also break through Threshold Guardians
  • Heroes (facing change) are challenging a powerful status quo – The Special World may be not what it was hyped up to be, they may face complications, things may get worse before they get better.
  • Up the stakes – rededicate to mission
  • Remind reader of ticking clock of story – urgency

Not only do we show the buildup, but we also need to show what is going on inside the Hero. Is he ready? Is he chomping at the bit, or is he terrified? Maybe a little of both? Great. Show it all. Let’s make sure that our reader’s are fully inside our Hero’s shoes with him before he ventures into his greatest battle.


A printable version, for your reference, can be found here: Stage 7: Approach to the Inmost Cave

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

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