Stuck in the Ordinary World

At the beginning of the three-act structure, which I outlined in my previous post, your hero is STUCK in the Ordinary World. Things might look perfectly cosy from the outside; Frodo’s life in the Shire looks okay, right? But deep in his or her heart, your hero is dissatisfied. The life that they are leading is based on fear and on a limited notion of personal potential. Some negative experience from the past may contribute to your hero’s sense of inertia; having been hurt before, they are reluctant to take risks.

You know those little toy cars that you rev up by running the wheels backwards, then you set them down and they shoot off? That’s kind of what you’re doing in the Ordinary World: you’re creating frustration in your hero so that, when they Cross the Threshold and set off on their adventure, the rubber hits the road and they really take off.

About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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