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Thread: What Happen's after the Hero's or You saved the world now what?

  1. #11
    Chessie
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    They live happily ever after. Duh.

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  3. #12
    Senior Member Michael K. Eidson's Avatar
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    In K.M. Weiland's book on character arcs, she talks about three different types of character arcs: Positive Change, Flat and Negative Change.

    Ms. Weiland lays out the story structure for all three types of character arcs. The flat arc could be used as a follow-up to the Hero's Journey.

    She makes the observation that the first Thor movie has a positive change arc. She then claims that the sequel has a flat arc, with Thor acting in accordance with his learned Truth rather than growing to discover it as he did in the first movie.

    James Bond movies usually have flat character arcs. 007 learned his Truths long ago, and is now putting them to good use by continually making the world a better place, and changing the lives of those who encounter him. He's skilled and confident in his skills, not able to improve much, and doesn't show much interest in changing himself, for better or worse. He just gets out there and gets the job done. The excitement for the audience is in seeing someone with skills being tested and overcoming the obstacles thrown in his path.
    "The truth doesn't matter. The alternative is often better."

    https://www.mkeidson.com/

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  5. #13
    Senior Member FifthView's Avatar
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    The "flat" arc is rather common for a type of episodic ensemble show on television, like the original Star Trek or a great number of sitcoms, especially in the past. Even when a character might appear to go through "change" during a given episode, the character would start the next episode not significantly different than what he was at the first of every episode preceding that episode. The longer a series ran, the greater the chance that some tiny bit of character change might occur over its entire run, but this could be due to factors like aging child actors, different scriptwriters and directors, and any number of things not very relevant to the issue of story/character arcs.

    The same sort of thing can be seen in the earliest years of superhero comic books. Superman was always superman, the exact same character, no matter what adventures he had. (Eventually, writers and publishers began to realize that readers would grow bored and wander off to read about other heroes, so they started writing stories more driven by or informed by character change/growth.)

    The trick in this sort of story is to keep throwing the characters and readers/viewers new curveballs. How will these familiar, known quantities work through the solutions? Another example might be Agatha Christie's Poirot. Poirot changes not much at all; but each murder mystery is different, with different types of clues, and we want to see Poirot's solution. (In truth, some of Christie's books seem to repeat themselves, judging by this series which probably wasn't meant to be watched in marathon sessions!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael K. Eidson View Post
    In K.M. Weiland's book on character arcs, she talks about three different types of character arcs: Positive Change, Flat and Negative Change.

    Ms. Weiland lays out the story structure for all three types of character arcs. The flat arc could be used as a follow-up to the Hero's Journey.

    She makes the observation that the first Thor movie has a positive change arc. She then claims that the sequel has a flat arc, with Thor acting in accordance with his learned Truth rather than growing to discover it as he did in the first movie.

    James Bond movies usually have flat character arcs. 007 learned his Truths long ago, and is now putting them to good use by continually making the world a better place, and changing the lives of those who encounter him. He's skilled and confident in his skills, not able to improve much, and doesn't show much interest in changing himself, for better or worse. He just gets out there and gets the job done. The excitement for the audience is in seeing someone with skills being tested and overcoming the obstacles thrown in his path.
    Last edited by FifthView; 1-10-17 at 5:14 PM.

  6. #14
    Senior Member FifthView's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Logos&Eidos View Post
    The Hero's Journey is about growing up...so what happens afterwards? What's the story about navigating the world of power and adult responsibility, what happens after the evil Overlord has been beaten?
    I've been wanting to start a thread about character wants and needs because a lot of the advice given about plot and story in various recent threads seems to focus very heavily on these things, and I think many types of story are not driven by deep, growth-type character change.

    I'm not sure if you are familiar with Orson Scott Card's idea of the "M.I.C.E Quotient," but the acronym is meant to address four principle story types:

    • Milieu
    • Idea
    • Character
    • Event


    Knowing which story type you are writing will go a long way in being able to determine how to structure it, including where/how to start the story. I won't go into great detail here, but I will say that all these elements will play some role in every story. It's just that different story types will have a different driver, different focus, and different ending-place.

    I happen to believe that every story is about change. But not every story is about deep growth-type character change. Take my example, mentioned in my last comment, of Agatha Christie's Poirot. The mystery story is an Idea story. Something needs to be discovered, or something discovered needs to be understood by the end of the tale. The detective, Poirot, doesn't undergo deep character change; rather, he's placed into the midst of a mystery needing to be solved. The change that is occurring in the tale is that

    1. a crime has been committed (usually murder)
    2. the circumstances of that crime are a mystery to everyone but the person or persons who committed it, with the possible exception of a witness who doesn't spill the beans immediately
    3. Poirot is called in to investigate the mystery (or, as is often the case, is already present but now sees this mystery before him and feels compelled to solve it)
    4. Poirot solves the mystery and reveals to everyone who perpetrated the crime.


    So the overall change is a movement from mystery to revelation.

    But this doesn't mean Poirot changes not at all. He does. He changes from a state of being mystified, ignorant to a state of knowing what has happened. One might label this a kind of "growth" in his experience (he'll never forget the case, so he has "grown" in the sense of having a broader experience), but this is hardly the kind of growth/maturation often discussed for "character change,"and the primary point of each story is not to show or have Poirot becoming a more experienced man. (I am addressing the television show. I've not read any of the books.)

    The change arc for a particular Event story (heh, I'll call it that) might be Threat to the world or to a character is introduced ------> Threat is removed. (Threat to Enterprise appears; the crew of the Enterprise removes it.)

    The change arc for a particular Milieu story might be Character finds himself in a strange new land -----> Character survives the experience and returns to his home or decides to stay in that new land.

    In any Idea, Event, or Milieu story, there can be deep character growth. But there are other types of character change possible, like going from a state of ignorance about a very particular thing to understanding it, or going from a state of having no friends and allies to having friends and allies....

    So to your question above: A character can move from a state of finding himself in the "new" world of politics or adult responsibility (new for him) to establishing himself there. Maybe he does grow in experience; or maybe the mystery of who to trust as an ally and who not to trust is resolved instead.
    Last edited by FifthView; 1-11-17 at 9:20 AM.

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  8. #15
    Senior Member TheCrystallineEntity's Avatar
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    My characters sometimes change drastically throughout their stories; othertimes barely at all, instead reacting to things happening to them.

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    Senior Member Miskatonic's Avatar
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    If you are a comic book superhero then you're just waiting for the next super-villain to come around and screw everything up.
    “Do you hate people?”
    “I don't hate them...I just feel better when they're not around.”
    ― Charles Bukowski, Barfly

  10. #17
    Senior Member Miskatonic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chessie View Post
    They live happily ever after. Duh.
    In this day and age this seems to be more of a rarity.
    “Do you hate people?”
    “I don't hate them...I just feel better when they're not around.”
    ― Charles Bukowski, Barfly

  11. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Logos&Eidos View Post
    The Hero's Journey is about growing up...so what happens afterwards? What's the story about navigating the world of power and adult responsibility, what happens after the evil Overlord has been beaten?
    My perspective is that there are a handful of existential questions that people dedicate certain periods of their lives to answering. Coming-of-age mostly deals with the questions of "who am I? Who can I be? Can I make it in the world?". Adulthood is probably more "can I make my life count? What is most important in my life?" and probably deals more with work and family than the peer/idol relationships of a coming-of-age story.
    Old people would probably have questions along the line of "what have I accomplished?" and "what do I still need to accomplish?"
    Does that make sense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Logos&Eidos View Post
    Have the steps of a Post Hero's Journey ever been mapped out?
    I actually took a class on Campbell-style storytelling and my instructor told me that after the hero's journey, there's another hero's journey. Life is just a series of quests. After the evil overlord is beaten, the hero starts another quest. It's just that the stakes may not be as high or the obstacles may not be as exciting.

    Star Wars (and Dune) worked with this neat idea that the cycle of hero's journeys are continued by the later generations. That seems pretty logical.

  12. #19
    Senior Member DragonOfTheAerie's Avatar
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    Huh.

    So I was looking over this thread, which I hadn't thought about replying to yet, and I realized that the graphic novel I'm planning kind of is a post-hero's journey story.

    I'll give some background. It's a superhero story, that takes place after the Big Bad has been defeated. The heroes of the tale are finished with their journeys and now are attempting to assimilate with society and adjust to normal life. Except none of them can hold jobs and/or keep getting kicked out of their apartments for various reasons like power-related mishaps, or non-human mutant traits freaking out the customers, or being an alien who doesn't understand human society...so, three years after the Big Bad has been defeated, the group is reunited, living together, and mooching off the (former) millionaire kid whose powers come from his inventions.

    It's kind of like a sitcom...but it has a darker and more poignant side as they find out that they didn't really know each other at all. Lots of revelations about sexuality and troubled pasts and mental illnesses. And they start to grow both together and apart as they try to fully move on from being super heroes and figure out where they want their lives to head from there.

    In the end, they're growing apart and starting to blend into society and leave behind their old identities when they're shaken by the sudden suicide of one of the members of the team. Then, when they're at their most broken, a new villain (who's been gathering power behind the scenes) rises and they are forced to reunite and fight him.

    Thoughts on how this fits in with what y'all have been discussing?

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  14. #20
    Senior Member ThinkerX's Avatar
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    This used to bug me quite a bit, especially with the fantasy type epics. Ok, so the MC and his companions spend three books defeating the 'dark overlord,' growing in personal and political power along the way. Then they win. The dark overlord and his empire are no more, subsumed into that of the MC and company.

    What then?

    At that point, in the more superficial sense, MC and company are among the most powerful characters around. No serious competition. Options for continuing came down to some variant of:

    1 - a 'clean-up' story, where the MC's go after the remaining top flunkies of the dark overlord - a bit like the 'scouring of the Shire' in 'Lord of the Rings.'

    2 - the world is a big place after all - most fantasy 'worlds' are actually rather small portions of worlds, and what was portrayed as the overwhelming menace is just one foe or potential foe among many in the larger world. Feist took this route in his 'Riftwar' saga.

    3 - life goes on. The MC becomes a mentor to the 'next generation' of heroes, or becomes embroiled in some personal project or other. This happened with Obi-Wan in the 'Star Wars' series.

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