Scribes! Kind of figured this could warrant a look see. What do you think?

Hey Wordsmiths, this may really be worth checking out.

For a couple of months now, everyone's been speculating that Jenelle Evans is back with David Eason.

Or, well, it started out as speculation, but now it's pretty much just a fact that everyone knows but they won't acknowledge.

But our girl Jenelle has just uploaded a brand new Q&A to her YouTube account, and in the video, she directly explains what's going on with David.

She also gives tons and tons of info about her post-Teen Mom life.

So let's get into it!

1. Well, Jenelle …

Jenelle evans her selfie
A couple of months ago, Jenelle did a Q&A for her YouTube account, remember?

2. Ah, Memories

Jenelle in the snow
She asked her Instagram followers to send her a bunch of questions about her life, and she compiled them so she could answer them in a video. That’s how Q&As work.

3. Gross

Jenelle evans david eason on instagram
But since then, a lot of things have changed. For example, she’s no longer living in Nashville — she’s back in North Carolina full-time, which means she’s also back with David.

4. By All Means!

Jenelle eason with dave eason
But let’s let her speak for herself, OK?

5. Oh Hey Girl

Jenelle evans im back with david and life is good yall
The most popular questions were about a few specific topics: David, her career, and this whole pandemic situation.

6. And We’re Off!

Jenelle eason
She jumps around a bit, but let’s just follow her lead.

View Slideshow

Was I correct?
Thank me later.

Wordsmiths! Thought that this could warrant a look see. What do you think?

Hi-Ya Persons of Letters, this could really be great.

Writing a fight scene is easy to get wrong. It’s also easy to get right. This blog post is adapted from a classic article I wrote in my Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine back in October of 2006. That’s a long time ago, so I thought it was worth updating and posting on my blog.  

We’re going to get down into the details in this post. Fight scenes are really easy, if you know the rules. And what are the rules?

Some Fight Scene Rules-of-Thumb

  • Show, don’t tell 
  • Make it happen in real-time 
  • Enforce causality 
  • Show sequence, not simultaneity 
  • Favor completed verbs over continuing-action verbs 
  • Show the fastest stuff first 
  • For every action, show a reaction 
  • Use interior monologue and dialogue to set the pace

These rules of thumb all exist for the same reason. The reason is that your reader wants your fiction to show them a movie in their heads. The rules of thumb force you to do that.

A Wretchedly Bad Fight Scene

I could explain all the rules in boring detail, but that would be Telling you. Right now, I want to Show you. So here’s a wretchedly bad fight scene that violates all the rules. Read it first, mock it all you want, and then let’s analyze it to see why it’s so awful.

After taking six or eight or maybe even ten punches and kicks to all parts of his body — such as the solar plexus and shins and head — Arnie was hurting quite badly, although perhaps not as badly as when Mrs. Weevil gave him a D in spelling in third grade when he KNEW “potato” had no “e” in it.

In any event, Arnie ducked his head and spun to the right, simultaneously kicking out furiously with his foot and shouting that Bruce was an ambidextrous excuse for a moron, just after he saw Bruce throwing another punch at him. But none of this worked, because before he could do any of that, Bruce jumped high in the air and kicked Arnie in the eye, so none of the stuff Arnie tried actually worked because he was lying there on the ground wondering if he was ever going to see Cindy Lou Who again, who had grown up to be quite cute, even if she wasn’t so much back in seventh grade, and also he was screaming in agony.

“Want some more, you little lout?” Bruce said as he kicked Arnie in the kidneys about fifteen times and then grabbed his head and pounded it on the ground. All this time, Arnie was jabbing Bruce in places like the groin and stomach, but it didn’t do any good until the end when Bruce fell over in a faint, just after Arnie cried “Uncle!”

It goes without saying that this is horrible beyond words. But why? What makes it so bad? The short answer is that it violates all the rules of thumb I gave above. 

The long answer is going to take a bit of work. Let’s look at each of the rules and see how our horrible fight scene violates each one.

Show, Don’t Tell

Our example scene violates this rule almost continuously.  Look at the first sentence:

After taking six or eight or maybe even ten punches and kicks to all parts of his body — such as the solar plexus and shins and head…

The reason this is “telling” is because those punches are all lumped together into one big glop, making it impossible to say with any certainty how many punches there actually were. That’s not showing your reader a movie, it’s just bean-counting.

Nor are we sure exactly which body parts are getting all the punishment, although we get a list of a few parts that might be getting whacked. Or might not — who knows? But your reader can’t visualize a punch to “all parts of the body.” 

And furthermore, what’s Arnie doing while he’s taking all those punches? He can’t possibly be patiently accepting them. Does he throw a counterpunch? Beg for mercy? Phone E.T.? We can’t see this scene. We can’t see Arnie. We’re just being told about it.

Don’t show “six or eight punches” to an unspecified part of the body. Show one punch to the gut. And then…

Make it Happen in Real-Time

When a fight happens in real-time, you see one punch and then right away you see the response and then right away you see the next punch. In real-time, when the action is falling fast and furious, you don’t have time for musing like this:

Arnie was hurting quite badly, although perhaps not as badly as when Mrs. Weevil gave him a D in spelling in third grade when he KNEW ‘potato’ had no ‘e’ in it.

Backstory has its place in a novel. But not in a fight scene. A fight scene is now, not back in third grade. You’re trying to show your reader a movie in their head. Any backstory you put into a fight scene stops the movie cold. 

Enforce Causality

When I talk about causality, I mean that a cause should be shown first, and then the effect afterwards. If you show the effect first, and then the cause, it looks absurd. As in this paragraph:

In any event, Arnie ducked his head and spun to the right, simultaneously kicking out furiously with his foot and shouting that Bruce was an ambidextrous excuse for a moron, just after he saw Bruce throwing another punch at him.

So let’s untangle this. What happened first? Arnie saw Bruce throwing another punch at him. But that’s shown last in this sentence. The effect is shown first, and it’s a long sequence of events that I’ve drawn out ludicrously: Arnie ducks his head. Arnie spins to the right. Arnie kicks. Arnie shouts. Only after we see all that do we see the cause for it all.

That’s just dumb. If you’re showing your reader a movie in their head, don’t run the movie backwards.

Show Sequence, not Simultaneity 

It rarely makes sense to try to make two different actions simultaneous in a fight scene.

Why? Because a fight scene is chock full of all different sorts of actions, each of which takes a different amount of time. If one action takes a tenth of a second and another takes two seconds, the action will feel distorted if the author asserts that they happen simultaneously.

In our example, we’ve got this gem:

Arnie ducked his head and spun to the right, simultaneously kicking out furiously with his foot and shouting that Bruce was an ambidextrous excuse for a moron.

You can duck and spin to the right pretty quick. You can kick pretty quick. But how long does it take to shout that bit about the ambidextrous excuse for a moron? A lot longer. All this action/dialogue can’t happen simultaneously. So it’s a heinous crime to say that it does.

Even if lots of things are actually happening all at once, your reader can only read about one of them at a time, because the words are written in a linear sequence. So don’t say they’re happening all at once. It’s a direct violation of what the reader is experiencing.

Favor Completed Verbs over Continuing-Action Verbs

Use simple past tense verbs such as “kicked” or “punched” or “shouted” rather than those pesky participles such as “kicking” or “punching” or “shouting”.

The reason for this is simple. When you say “Arnie jabbed Bruce,” you imply that it happened quickly and it’s now over. Which is what the camera would show. When you say “Arnie was jabbing Bruce,” you imply that it’s going on and on and on. But a jab happens in a few tenths of a second, so your mind has no option except to see the jab happening over and over and over again. Or happening in super Slo-Mo. Either way, it’s not much like a fight any more.

In the middle paragraph, we’ve got the worst of all possible worlds, because we’re mixing completed verbs with continuing-action verbs:

…Arnie ducked his head and spun to the right, simultaneously kicking out furiously with his foot and shouting…

This kind of writing is enough to make anyone cry.

Show the Fastest Stuff First

When you sequence a group of events that are happening at roughly the same time, show those that happen fastest before you show those that happen slowest. Look at this segment:

…none of the stuff Arnie tried actually worked because he was lying there on the ground wondering if he was ever going to see Cindy Lou Who again, who had grown up to be quite cute, even if she wasn’t so much back in seventh grade, and also he was screaming in agony…

This has numerous problems, but note this: we show Arnie ruminating about Cindy Lou Who (which could take a couple seconds, given what a slow wit Arnie is) and then we see him screaming in agony (which he should be doing pretty fast, with all the kicks he’s getting.) If you’re going to show these, it’s better to show him screaming first and then show him ruminating.

For Every Action, Show a Reaction

If Bruce punches 6 times and Arnie jabs back 6 times, then you need to shuffle these actions together, rather than lumping all the punches together and then all the jabs. Look at the text:

“Want some more, you little lout?” Bruce said as he kicked Arnie in the kidneys about fifteen times and then grabbed his head and pounded it on the ground. All this time, Arnie was jabbing Bruce in places like the groin and stomach…

So Bruce is performing a whole bunch of actions all lumped together, and only then do we see any of the reactions from Arnie, which are also all lumped together. The net effect is to smooth out the fight sequence into a bland oatmeal of muffled actions. You can’t see a scene like this in your head. Oh, sure, you see something. But it’s nothing like what the author intended. It’s a muddle, not a movie.

Use Interior Monologue and Dialogue to Set the Pace

Pace is important in a fight scene. It’s utterly unrealistic to show a nonstop flurry of actions and reactions.

Real fighters will exchange a series of punches or kicks or whatever. Then they’ll back off and look each other over, catching their breath and watching for weaknesses. A real fight has ebbs and flows in the pacing. You show the faster parts of the scene by short sentences that show only the actions and reactions. You show the slower parts of the scene by longer sentences that show actions and reactions interspersed with interior monologue and dialogue.

Your goal in a fight scene is to make it take just about as long to read as it would take to happen in real time. You do that by controlling the pacing.

In the fight scene above, we have blocks of both interior monologue and dialogue tossed in at the very height of the action. Those would work much better during the lulls between the punches, while the fighters have stepped back to catch their breath and plan their next move.

Not Even Wrong

The example I’ve given above does not even deserve an F. It’s too horrible to merit a grade at all. It’s too horrible to rewrite. The most merciful thing we can do is forget it ever happened. 

As homework, you might look at a fight scene from your own novel and ask if it follows the eight rules of thumb I listed above. If it doesn’t, can you fix it? Or should you scrap it and start the scene over?

Got a Question for My Blog?

If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer in public on this blog, hop on over to my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page and submit your question. I’ll answer the ones I can, but no guarantees. There are only so many hours in the day.

The post On Writing Fight Scenes appeared first on Advanced Fiction Writing.

Was I wrong?
No need to thank me.

Wordsmiths! Hoping that this might be worth a read. Any ideas?

How are you Free Spirits, this could possibly be great.

Learn how to write a TV show bible and market your pilot like a pro. So you’ve got a great idea for a TV show… Do you just write the pilot and start sending it out into the industry? Or do you first write one of those mysterious things known as a “TV show bible”? […]

The post 40 TV Show Bible Examples to Download and Study appeared first on Script Reader Pro.

Was I on the button?
You can thank me later.

Wordsmiths! Thought that this could probably be worth a read through. Opinions?

How goes it Readers, this may really be worth a scan.

Welcome to the first ever April PAD Challenge Countdown, in which Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and a poem (to get things started) in the 10 days leading up to the 2020 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. Let the poeming begin!

Welcome to this first ever countdown to the April PAD Challenge! This was an idea suggested to me on Facebook by Mo Hurley, and well, it’s just a good idea with so many people locked indoors with little to do but read and write poems. So let’s get at it!

For today’s prompt, write a time poem. I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt in a time warp the past couple weeks—with a day feeling like a week (or even a month) and a week feeling much longer. So your poem can about that, or it can deal with time travel. Or write about being late, being early, or right on time. Heck, do a countdown. There’s no time like the present.

Remember: These prompts are just springboards; you have the freedom to jump in any direction you want.

Re-create Your Poetry!

Revision doesn’t have to be a chore–something that should be done after the excitement of composing the first draft. Rather, it’s an extension of the creation process!

In the 48-minute tutorial video Re-creating Poetry: How to Revise Poems, poets will be inspired with several ways to re-create their poems with the help of seven revision filters that they can turn to again and again.

Click to continue.

Here’s my attempt at a Time Poem:

“Present Tense”

I have a tendency to get worked up
about the future, to get choked up

about the past. But there’s no better
moment, in my mind, than this one,

in your arms, listening to the birds
breaking up the morning’s silence.

The post 2020 April PAD Challenge Countdown: T-minus 10 by Robert Lee Brewer appeared first on Writer's Digest.

Was I wrong?
Thank me later.

Wordsmiths! Hoping that this might warrant a read. Ideas?

Yo Avid Readers, this is going to be inconsequential.

You’re under coronavirus quarantine. What are you going to do with all this newfound time—and lack of outside entertainment? Why, read, of course!

Good Books to Read While You're Under Coronavirus Quarantine

There’s never been a better time to pick up a book. But what should you read under quarantine?

Here at The Write Practice, we’ve got you covered. Our team put our heads together and selected our best recommendations of great books to read while you’re under coronavirus quarantine.

How We Made Our Coronavirus Quarantine Book List

As we put together this list, we faced one enormous question:

What makes a good coronavirus quarantine read?

There are a lot of books about pandemics out there. But The Stand is perhaps more panic-inducing than encouraging when you’re trapped at home with the risk of infection outside.

Rather than stark dystopias about devastating outbreaks, we looked instead for books that offer hope, and especially humor. “Laughter is the best medicine,” said someone somewhere, and while it might not be a coronavirus cure on its own, it can certainly help lift us on some dark and stressful days.

This list spans a variety of genres and themes, from pandemic novels to mental illness memoir to nonfiction science books to cozy mysteries. Whether you’re looking for hope for the shut-in, fascinating facts, or some good old escapism, you’ll find something to love on this list.

Ready to start reading? Here’s what we recommend.

10 Lighthearted Books to Read

Looking for something light and fun to take your mind off of quarantine, or offer a new perspective on illness? Look no further than these ten reads:

1. The Decameron by Boccaccio

You’ve heard of The Canterbury Tales, a series of twenty-four stories told by a group of pilgrims on their journey to Canterbury. Boccaccio’s The Decameron predates it by several decades.

But Boccaccio’s cast of seven women and three men isn’t on the road—rather, they’ve sequestered themselves in a villa near Florence in hopes of escaping the Black Death. The hundred tales they tell each other during their two-week quarantine span the gamut from witty to tragic.

Alternate idea: Don’t want to read books while quarantined? Gather your household and challenge yourselves to tell a story every day.

Get the book here.

2. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Ask someone for literature about pandemics, and Love in the Time of Cholera is one of the first books that comes to mind. Hey, “cholera” is right there in the title!

In fact, this book is about more than just cholera. It’s about love and relationships that span decades, and it asks if maybe love isn’t the real disease.

If coronavirus quarantine is your opportunity to revisit the classics you missed in high school and college, this is the perfect book to start with. Or, if you want to say things like “literature in the time of coronavirus” with more knowledge of the source for your clever reference, read this.

Get the book here.

3. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more fun and entertaining read about the end of the world. With their signature darkness, satire, and clever twists on mythology, Gaiman and Pratchett created a wild tale of apocalypse.

You might have seen the Amazon Prime miniseries adaptation. If you haven’t read the book, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Actually, go ahead and watch the miniseries, too; you’ve got time.

Get the book here.

4. Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom by Sara Benincasa

What if you weren’t stuck in the house because of a virus, but because you couldn’t make yourself leave? That was the case for Sara Benincasa, who faced down agoraphobia, depression, an eating disorder, and panic disorder.

Ultimately, she’s become a standup comedian, a far cry from her days of never leaving her college dorm room. Her memoir is a humorous beacon of hope that whether the illnesses we face are mental or physical, we can still find ways to thrive, and one day, even open the door.

Get the book here.

5. Going Bovine by Libba Bray

The bad news is, 16-year-old Cameron has mad cow disease. It’s incurable, and he’s going to die. The good news is, he’s going to have the adventure of a lifetime first—even if it’s all in his head. Plus, there’s a wacky road trip, so you can travel in your imagination.

At once morbid and hopeful, Going Bovine is an inspiring challenge to find wild adventure and satisfaction even when our world is closing in on us. If you’re not interested in reading about terminal illnesses right now, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’d enjoy a wild YA romp that Publishers Weekly likens to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, definitely don’t miss this.

Get the book here.

6. I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong

Why not use this time of uninterrupted reading as an opportunity to learn something new? I Contain Multitudes is a fascinating exploration of the microbial world, the bacteria that keep our entire ecosystem running.

Read this, and you might just look at the microbes around you in a fresh and even positive light.

Also, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.

Get the book here.

7. Crowdsourcing Paris by Joe Bunting

Remember when you could travel around the world to exotic locales, visit famous monuments and museums, and sit in streetside cafés watching the world go by? Remember when you could walk through an airport, get on an airplane, and arrive in another country without worry? In fact, remember when you could go out in public, period?

If you’re missing the thrill of travel, a travel memoir is the perfect book for you. Take in the sights of Paris with Joe Bunting’s crowdsourced adventure. It might just inspire you to find ways to make staying home an adventure all its own.

Get the book here.

8. The Hike by Sarah Gribble

What if travel weren’t so peaceful as a trip to Paris, but a harrowing, life-threatening, man-against-nature risk in its own right? This short horror read about a daylong desert hiking trip gone terribly wrong will remind you why you’re glad to stay safe at home after all.

Did I say this was a lighthearted read? Well, it might take your mind off viral threats, at least. Does that count?

Get the book here.

9. Still Life by Louise Penny

Louise Penny didn’t publish this, her first book in the Inspector Gamache series, until she was in her forties. It was worth the wait.

Here’s what Joe Bunting, the founder of The Write Practice, has to say about it:

I like the occasional mystery, but it’s hardly my go-to genre. But I haven’t been able to stop reading these books, and I’m now on book nine in the series after starting just eight weeks ago (and launching a book in the process).

Still Life drips with wisdom and strength. You’ll want to move to Quebec, drink a cognac or café au lait, and get warm next to the fire while reading this. You’ll probably also wish Inspector Gamache was your best friend, grandfather, and boss all at the same time.

All that to say, everyone should read this book. And quarantine is the perfect time to start a long mystery series that will keep you turning pages (and not thinking about illness) for weeks.

Get the book here.

10. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Just because there’s a zombie apocalypse doesn’t mean you can’t find love. That’s certainly the case for R, a zombie who’s not a fan of eating human flesh, and Julie, the woman whose boyfriend’s brain R eats.

This reimagining of Romeo and Juliet with zombies inspires hope that while we have the power to infect each other, our search for a cure—and for love—might just bring out the best in humanity.

Get the book here.

4 Sober and Grave Books to Read

Ready for something a little more serious for your coronavirus quarantine reads? Check out these four books that deal with the gritty reality of contagious illness:

1. Typhoid Mary by Anthony Bourdain

Mary Mallon was a cook for wealthy families in New York from 1900 to 1907. She was also an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever, and though authorities pursued her through several jobs with several families, it took them years to detain and quarantine her. By that point, she had infected dozens of people and earned the nickname “Typhoid Mary.”

Anthony Bourdain approaches Typhoid Mary’s sordid history from the perspective of a chef, exploring turn-of-the-century kitchens and her dogged determination to maintain her career as a cook. If a nonfiction case study of carrying a disease sounds like your perfect quarantine read, you won’t want to miss this.

Get the book here.

2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

What happens after a pandemic decimates the population and reshapes civilization as we know it? It’s been two decades since a virulent strain of the flu changed the world, and for Kirsten and her traveling band of creatives, survival means keeping the arts alive in this dismal new world.

As the New York Times Book Review puts it, “Station Eleven offers comfort and hope to those who believe, or want to believe, that doomsday can be survived, that in spite of everything people will remain good at heart, and when they start building a new world they will want what was best about the old.”

Get the book here.

3. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

If the first two picks feel a little too close to home for you, try The Book of Strange New Things. This otherworldly novel will take you galaxies away, where a devout man shares his faith with an alien population. But things aren’t as tranquil as they seem—at home on Earth, his wife is watching the world collapse around her.

Get the book here.

4. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

We started this list with a shoutout to The Canterbury Tales, and here we’re calling back to Chaucer again. In Karen Maitland’s retelling, the band of travelers doesn’t journey on a religious pilgrimage, but flees north in hopes of escaping the Black Plague.

This historical fiction tale weaves in mystery as the travelers each tell their stories and dark consequences ensue.

Get the book here.

Bonus: 2 Short and Serious Stories to Read

Quarantine reads don’t have to be long. Enjoy these bite-sized pandemic stories right now, for free:

1. “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe

No list of dark and harrowing literature would be complete without a little Poe. This short story features a prince who’s sheltered himself and his court in the castle, safely sequestered away from the Red Death. Outside their doors, the disease ravages, but inside, they’re safe and revelrous.

Of course, you might guess that Poe is loath to end a story happily, so if you’re looking for something to lift your spirits, this might not be it. But if you’re a Poe fan, you certainly won’t want to miss this plague-themed short.

Read “The Masque of the Red Death” here.

2. “Viral” by JD Edwin

This story stands out from everything else on this list for one major reason: it’s a story about coronavirus in Wuhan right now. Though fiction, it draws heavily from accounts from the author’s family friends, who are currently enduring the Wuhan quarantine.

As fun as it can be to have extra time to read, it’s also important to pay attention to what’s going on around us in the world. This story offers a window into what quarantine looks like in the most heavily impacted areas.

Don’t miss “Viral” here.

And for another sobering glimpse of Wuhan, check out this drone footage of the city under quarantine.

Your Writing Prompt

As we put together this article, we looked for all the novels we could find that combine pandemics with humor. For all our searching, you might notice that there aren’t a lot of lighthearted illness books on this list.

As it turns out, funny books about plagues, pestilence, and pandemics are in short supply. And understandably so—it’s a heavy topic, and writers treat it with the gravity it demands.

But a great coronavirus quarantine read is one that doesn’t offer more reasons to panic, but more reasons to laugh, to endure, and to hope.

So if you’re looking for a writing prompt, an untapped literary niche, if you will, here it is.

Why not write a funny pandemic story yourself?

What are your favorite coronavirus quarantine recommendations? Can you think of any funny pandemic books we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.


Like we said, funny books about pestilence are in short supply. Your challenge today is to get us one step closer to filling that literary niche.

This writing prompt is two words: pandemic and humor.

Take fifteen minutes to write a story based on the prompt. When you’re done, share your writing practice in the comments, and be sure to leave a comment on your fellow writers’ stories! Which one would you most like to read under coronavirus quarantine?

The post 14 Good Books to Read While You’re Under Coronavirus Quarantine appeared first on The Write Practice.

Was I wrong?
You can thank me later.

Authors! Figured that this could probably be worth a read. Any opinions?

How goes it Persons of Letters, this may be worth checking out.

Why is the Refusal of the Call to Adventure so vital to the story, according to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and Christopher Vogler’s interpreted twelve stages of that journey within his book, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers?

Welcome to Part 3 of our 12-part series ScreenCraft’s Exploration of the 12 Stages of the Hero’s Journey, where we go into depth about each of the twelve stages and how your screenplays could benefit from them.   (Please refer to the bottom of the post for a refresher on The Hero’s Journey.)

The first stage — The Ordinary World — is one of the most essential elements of any story, even ones that don’t follow the twelve-stage structure to a T.

Showing your protagonist within their Ordinary World at the beginning of your story offers you the ability to showcase how much the core conflict they face rocks their world. And it lets you foreshadow and create the necessary elements of empathy and catharsis that your story needs.

The next stage is the Call to Adventure. Giving your story’s protagonist a Call to Adventure introduces the core concept of your story, dictates the genre your story is being told in and helps to begin the process of character development that every great story needs.

What can come next? The Refusal of the Call.

Here we offer three reasons why your protagonist should refuse the Call to Adventure — and how your script can benefit from that refusal.

Get additional information about potential structures by downloading this free eBook!


1. To Create Instant Tension and Conflict Within the Story

The Refusal of the Call to Adventure can work within any type of cinematic story structure and narrative — even one that doesn’t hit all of the marks of the Campbell or Vogler Hero’s Journey stages.

The Call to Adventure is the Inciting Incident that pushes your protagonist into the core conflict of your story, which comprises the central concept of your script.

Imagine a screenplay with a protagonist that is a private detective. Someone comes to them with a case. They take it and begin their investigation. You show them in their Ordinary World and introduce the Call to Adventure. That’s the opening of your script, and most of the first act as well.

Now imagine the same scenario, but you inject a scene, moment, or sequence where your protagonist doesn’t want to take the case. Maybe they feel that it’s too dangerous. Maybe they have a personal connection. Maybe they don’t trust the person that is hiring them.

Doesn’t that added refusal add some spice to not only the opening of your screenplay but to the whole first act as well?

When a character refuses a Call to Adventure, there have to be reasons why. And those reasons why offer you — the screenwriter — the ability to inject tension into the opening pages of your screenplay. Tension is equated to conflict. And conflict is a vital element to any screenplay — the more, the better.

2. To Showcase the Risks and the Stakes Involved 

The best screenplays showcase big risks and big stakes that characters must overcome. The Refusal of the Call to Adventure offers you the opportunity to introduce those risks and stakes.

In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo’s initial refusal reveals that even Gandalph — a man of great power and ultimate goodness — could become seduced by the power of the One Ring.

In our private investigator example, the reason(s) that character is refusing to take on the case gives us the opportunity to show the reader or audience what that character could be risking if they did.

What if the case involved a missing person that was linked to some dangerous mafia gangsters? If the private investigator gets involved, they may uncover details that the mafia doesn’t want to be divulged, thus making the private investigator a threat to them. Now the P.I. has enemies — and dangerous ones at that.

We’ve just injected high stakes for that protagonist. And if they take on that case, they’re going to be at risk.

So whether you employ all twelve steps of Vogler’s Hero’s Journey stages or not, the Refusal of the Call to Adventure can help to amp up your tension and conflict by raising the risks and stakes involved.

3. To Create Empathy and Character Depth

Any character can take on an adventure or handle a conflict that is thrown at them. We’ve seen that time and time again in any action flick.

But not every action movie takes the time to create empathy for the protagonist or offers character depth that allows us to feel empathy towards that character.

When a protagonist refuses the Call to Adventure, they’re revealing their own insecurities, fears, and inner conflicts. This is a bridge to allow the reader and audience to feel empathetic towards the protagonist. We’re allowed to relate to that character or, at the very least, sympathize with their plight.

In Rocky, we only get a brief Refusal of the Call to Adventure when he’s offered the chance of a lifetime. But the fact that he initially rejects the offer shows his insecurities. He may be a fighter, but he’s insecure with himself and his abilities. And that introduces a lot of empathy.  And it also offers some introduction to key character depth as well.

If our private investigator took the case instantly, that may show some bravado — but we’re missing out on some character depth and opportunities for empathy. Most people won’t relate to a character that just takes a case no matter what the risks may be. But if you show that they are hesitant, you can start to reveal any number of possible compelling character traits.

Maybe the private investigator is asked to take on a missing child case — and it’s revealed that they lost their own child to a sexual predator. They refuse the case because it’s too close to home, but what if they end up taking the case to help them get closure and prevent another parent from losing a child?

This is how you create empathy and introduce further character depth — all because you had your protagonist Refuse the Call to Adventure.


The Refusal of the Call to Adventure allows you to create instant tension and conflict within the opening pages and first act of your story. It also gives you the chance to amp-up the risks and stakes involved, which, in turn, engages the reader or audience even more. And it also manages to help you develop a protagonist with more depth that can help to create empathy for them.

And remember…

“The Hero’s Journey is a skeleton framework that should be fleshed out with the details of and surprises of the individual story. The structure should not call attention to itself, nor should it be followed too precisely. The order of the stages is only one of many possible variations. The stages can be deleted, added to, and drastically shuffled without losing any of their power.” — Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

Joseph Campbell’s 17-stage Monomyth was conceptualized over the course of Campbell’s own text, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, and then later in the 1980s through two documentaries, one of which introduced the term The Hero’s Journey.

The first documentary, 1987’s The Hero’s Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell, was released with an accompanying book entitled The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work.

The second documentary was released in 1988 and consisted of Bill Moyers’ series of interviews with Campbell, accompanied by the companion book The Power of Myth.

Christopher Vogler was a Hollywood development executive and screenwriter working for Disney when he took his passion for Joseph Campbell’s story monolith and developed it into a seven-page company memo for the company’s development department and incoming screenwriters.

The memo, entitled A Practical Guide to The Hero With A Thousand Faces, was later developed by Vogler into The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters in 1992. He then elaborated on those concepts for the book The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers.

Christopher Vogler’s approach to Campbell’s structure broke the mythical story structure into twelve stages. We define the stages in our own simplified interpretations:

  1. The Ordinary World: We see the hero’s normal life at the start of the story before the adventure begins.
  2. Call to Adventure: The hero is faced with an event, conflict, problem, or challenge that makes them begin their adventure.
  3. Refusal of the Call: The hero initially refuses the adventure because of hesitation, fears, insecurity, or any other number of issues.
  4. Meeting the Mentor: The hero encounters a mentor that can give them advice, wisdom, information, or items that ready them for the journey ahead.
  5. Crossing the Threshold: The hero leaves their ordinary world for the first time and crosses the threshold into adventure.
  6. Tests, Allies, and Enemies: The hero learns the rules of the new world and endures tests, meets friends, and comes face-to-face with enemies.
  7. The Approach: The initial plan to take on the central conflict begins, but setbacks occur that cause the hero to try a new approach or adopt new ideas.
  8. The Ordeal: Things go wrong and added conflict is introduced. The hero experiences more difficult hurdles and obstacles, some of which may lead to a life crisis.
  9. The Reward: After surviving The Ordeal, the hero seizes the sword — a reward that they’ve earned that allows them to take on the biggest conflict. It may be a physical item or piece of knowledge or wisdom that will help them persevere.
  10. The Road Back: The hero sees the light at the end of the tunnel, but they are about to face even more tests and challenges.
  11. The Resurrection: The climax. The hero faces a final test, using everything they have learned to take on the conflict once and for all.
  12. The Return: The hero brings their knowledge or the “elixir” back to the ordinary world.

Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.  He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies

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The post ScreenCraft’s Exploration of the 12 Stages of the Hero’s Journey Part 3: Refusal of the Call appeared first on ScreenCraft.

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Authors! Kind of figured this just might qualify for a value post. Any thoughts?

Hey Writers, this has a bonafide chance be worth a read.

There’s an old saying ‘clothes maketh the man’ and it’s equally true of books, you are what you read. You can definitely judge a man, or woman, by the books they read. So, in these difficult times, here’s a fun infographic showing just what some famous people have on their bookshelves… Let me know in […]

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