Story Structure #24: Act III, Stage 11: The Resurrection

For a complete story, reader needs to experience an additional moment of death and rebirth similar to the Supreme Ordeal, but different – Climax (not crisis)

The Resurrection

  • Final purging and purification before re-entering Ordinary World – Once more they must change
    • Show change by behavior or appearance, not by just talking about it
    • Demonstrate that Hero has been through resurrection
  • New self must be created for new world
    • Heroes had to shed old selves to enter Special World, must now shed personality of journey and build new one suitable for return to Ordinary World
      • Reflect best parts of old selves and lessons learned along the way
    • Cleanse Hero of smell of death (think: poorly integrated Vietnam vets)
      • Tunnels, immersion, symbols
    • Heroes must be tested again to see if they retained learning from Supreme Ordeal
      • To learn something is one thing, to bring home knowledge as applied wisdom is another – Field Trial
        • Was Hero sincere? Will Shadow prevail?
  • Stakes are at their highest now – broad – whole world affected
  • Hero must be the one to act – not be rescued
  • Maybe a difficult choice to test Hero’s values
  • Climax options:
    • Quiet climax – gentle cresting or wave of emotion
    • Rolling climaxes – series of climaxes of subplots, or series of climaxes on different levels (mind, body, spirit, etc…)
    • Catharsis – purifying emotional release or breakthrough (climax needs to provide catharsis)
      • Sudden expansion of readers’ awareness
      • Laughter, tears
      • Catharsis is the logical climax of character arc
  • Resurrection is Hero’s last chance to make major change in attitude or behavior
    • May backslide, then reappear
    • Hope may seem dead, just before success
    • Last-minute threat may appear
    • Proof of Special World may disappear, causing doubts – hard to explain to others!
  • Calls for sacrifice by Hero
    • Opportunity for Hero to show he has incorporated all lessons into himself
    • Outward signs that Hero has changed – appearance or action

Field trial… intense stuff. Catharsis… intense intensity. There will be no doubt of what our Heroes have come through once they’ve been through Stage 11!


A printable version, for your reference, can be found here: Stage 11: The Resurrection

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

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