(Here's the final set of panel notes I'll post.)
The hero’s journey is still popular, but does it apply to women?
Are there other useful tropes for protagonists?
Good vs. evil is simplistic
Hero’s journey in a nutshell—hero grows up with foster parents, is summoned by a wizard and told he has a great destiny, has several adventures before facing down some of his own evils (the Shadow), defeats the evil and becomes the next ruler
Readers know what the rules are, so you can experiment with setting or character
Are audiences ready to accept other types of narrative?
Alternate journey—woman lets in evil into a harmonious society, her husband must stay at home and rebuild while the woman goes off on a redemptive journey
Some readers want something familiar to read when they want to relax
Hero’s journey doesn’t just entertain; supposed to be a metaphor for growing up (you have to go down into the darkness and come out the other side)
Hero’s journeys are sometimes about collecting plot coupons
Hero sometimes emerges from darkness to find out he has changed and doesn’t fit into his society
About 80% of fantasy fits this trope
Some readers love to be challenged, but they don’t like to be surprised
Need to prepare readers ahead of time so they know what to expect
What are examples of stories that did something different with the hero’s journey
Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Monoke, etc. Mizusaki (the target audience in Japan are boys who want to be saved by their mothers; the female character is a mother figure)
What is the structure of the heroic tale and how does it vary from culture to culture?
A Song of Ice and Fire series (multiple hero’s journeys)
Deepening characterization may change who’s the hero and who’s the villain
Always Coming Home has many layers and is nonlinear
Finnovar Tapestry – several different characters
The Heroine’s Journey
Woman may be rescuing a family member or other beloved person
Instead of getting magic sword or other phallic objects, women get objects of perception, distance weapons, magic bags/clothing/jewelry (less violent), domestic implements
Modern boys still want swords, but modern girls don’t want domestic magic
Female often gets a mean mentor (wicked stepmother, witch); the fairy godmother is a rarity
Heroine’s boyfriend is different
Heroine discovers the all-powerful father figure isn’t so powerful
Disney movies are the heroine’s journey lite
The heroine faces a destroyer of children
Woman is an agent of order (Mary Poppins)
Toads and Diamonds explores what happens when two girls get different gifts
Males return back home to rule; women marry when they reach their destination
The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown—uncomfortable comfort
Motif of inheritance leans toward a patricharchal system
New trope is inventor girls, especially in steampunk
Another trope is a gift that is actually a curse
Dark Jewels trilogy
Mist of Avalon
Is the heroine an exceptional woman, or are there other strong women in the story?
If there are two women, they may have different strengths
Need to look beyond the idea of story, or what we expect a story to be (different cultures may have different forms for stories)
Like Water for Chocolate—magical realism
Girl stories often involve the next generation (family sagas)
What is the relationship of the hero to the community? In general, the hero protects and helps the community. In return, the community may help the character, or sometimes hates the hero.
In some stories, the antagonist is redeemed instead of vanquished
Look for translated stories that don’t come out of the Eurocentric tradition (swantower.com)
Woman as Other-directed