Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Just a small town girl, learning in this lonely world

Year of Living Heroically #5: Tests, Allies, and Enemies

It is totally perfect (fated?) that Helen Lowe wrote about Sidekicks a few days ago and here I am talking about the portion of a book where the Heroes meet allies for their journey. She gave great examples of people who help along the way, and frankly, get all the best lines of dialogue.

So, our Hero has said YES to the adventure and is now entering a new world. This could be through starting a new job or, in most of our paranormal stories, the hero has actually jumped through a portal into an actual new world and needs to learn what is going to eat them and what is going to help them.

The Tests, Allies, and Enemies stage in the Hero's Journey is the exploration of the new world by the hero. She is stumbling around, trying to learn new rules, who to trust, what is real. And frankly, the best and most fun way of making a Hero learn is by testing them. Throw something ugly at them that makes them realize how this new world works. Its the Journeying part of the journey as the hero moves inevitably towards her Resurrection.

When I talk about Allies and Enemies, I'm talking about the people the hero meets who test her and who teach her. It is the character the hero encounters that helps her understand herself almost as much as the trials she is going through. And sometimes that needs to be an old-fashion villain.

In Diaries of an Urban Panther, Violet had to learn a lot and very fast. It seemed the middle section of that book was nothing but reading and fighting, learning and protecting herself from this new world and her new power. Finding out about herself, her best friend, and what exactly wanted to eat her for dinner.

In life, it really doesn't look much different. We face hardships every day that teach us something. We encounter people that drive us NUTS but teach us to be better. We meet people whose sole purpose of being is to make our life harder (yes, personal experience here).

I was chatting with a few people at RT in New Orleans (awesome sauce), and we decided we needed more words for 'friend.' There are people who you enjoy hanging out with who share similar interests. Then there are those who you would totally pick to survive the zombie apocalypse with. And then there are those who you really don't even like sometimes, but who have undoubtedly made you better some how. The word 'frister' came up and 'framily" and I couldn't help but think of Christina and Meredith from Grey's Anatomy. All of them help us along this journey, all in their unique way.

So reflections for this month: Are you someone's frister? Are you someones frenemy? Who is your person that helps you through your journey and have you said thank you lately?


Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther series

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