Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mystery and The Hero's Journey

What could they possibly have in common? The setting can be anywhere and any time period - mysteries cross borders and time zones as easily as any other genre. So it is no surprise when they look to the hero's journey for character types.

For most of my work, I do an intensive character sketch - part of that is to pick which hero or heroine (most of my sleuth's are female) best suits the particular story I'm telling.

In Small Town Secrets the sleuth/heroine, Chaneeta Morgan, is a strong independent woman, made strong by her circumstances. While Chaneeta is a strong heroine such as an Amazon Woman heroine, she leans heavily toward being a Madonna.

Amazon women are capable, independent, self-sufficient. But Chaneeta is more than that, she has a soft side a mothering side. She is the chairperson of the small town where she lives - She is the owner of The Golden Kettle Cafe, she is many things to many people. Example:

Someone is bent on burning it down one building at a time. Can Chaneeta and Olga bury their rivalry long enough to use their powers to stop the arsonist before the town is destroyed, or will the skeleton in the Town Chairperson’s closet be her undoing at the hands of Editor in chief of the Daily Nettle Newspaper, Olga Corn?

Chaneeta is vulnerable, but not defenseless. She is not above receiving help, she does not need everyone's approval though she would sincerely like it, because she feels better when people like her. Olga Corn, her rival and most time nemesis is a shape-shifter doing whatever it takes to get what she wants.

While Joseph Campbell's Hero's journey elucidates the hero's journey for me, Christopher Volger also explains the journey when he says, "We test out our ideas and feelings about some human quality and try to learn more about it."

As readers we find our answers, or confirmation of our beliefs, in the books we gravitate to again and again as our favorite reads. Wise old woman or man, mentors, guides, heroes and heroines are all necessary to tell a story that readers are willing to spend time reading and it is our joy to write. Mystery and suspense are my favorite genres and they benefit greatly by exploring the various aspects of the Heroes journey.

Billie A. Williams.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I enjoyed your blog on the hero's journey. When you get a chance check out my blog: and give your suggestions. I've posted an excerpt from Hurricane House there.