By crossing the first threshold, the hero enters the Special World (this is also the beginning of Act 2). The Special World can be literally a new environment (like a fantasy world or a new workplace) or it can be established with a change in the hero’s current environment (like a new roommate or family member).
The main characteristic of this world is that it contrasts the Ordinary World. It brings new rules and both the hero and the audience need to adapt to it.
As the name of this stage suggests, this is a period of testing the hero. The tests at this point are challenging but not life-threatening. Their purpose is to get the hero familiar with the Special World and to prepare them for the later, much more dangerous obstacles. (These tests can also be a continuation of the mentor’s training.)
Allies & Enemies
Another part of this stage is meeting new characters in the Special World. The hero needs to learn to recognise whom they can trust. On the other hand, this is also the stage where the hero runs into minions of the Shadow or even has a brief encounter with the Shadow (the main bad guy).
Some tips if you get stuck at this stage:
- This is a great stage to introduce side characters. Go crazy and write a couple of scenes with different ones. That will help you figure out what your hero really needs (whether it’s someone’s help or an enemy to defeat and learn a lesson from it).
- Remember that this is new territory. Think about what the hero (or the audience) needs to learn about the Special World and write about that.
- Your hero does not know the rules of the Special World yet so they are bound to make mistakes. You can play around with their expectations and what really happens
Before you go…
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See you next week with the next stage of the Hero’s Journey!