The Hero’s journey – The Temptress

The Temptress

The Temptress is the opposite of the Goddess, the Goddess compels the hero on but the Temptress, provides a distraction or a detour. Rather than performing the role of a blocker or threshold guardian the Temptress presents a situation for the hero where he must make a choice.

This is an internal, moral battle rather than a physical battle. After enduring the grueling road of the trials, the Temptress throws up an option to take the easy way out, to give up on the quest. But by demonstrating he has the ability to refuse this offer, he is more heroic because of it.

The Temptress role may also be played by the Goddess but is not necessarily female.

Star Wars Temptations

Han Solo “Why don’t you come with us? You’re a good pilot, we could use you.”

Darth Vader “Join me and together we can rule the universe as father and son.”

Leia “Run away, far away, if he can feel your presence then leave this place.”

Emperor “Fulfill your destiny and take your father’s place at my side.”

Sirens would lure sailors to death by singing beautiful songs which would attract the ships  to the shore where they would break up on the rocks. They are not true Temptresses as their call is irresistible; they give the hero no choice.

Temptation in the Garden of Eden. They were warned by God not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge but a snake convinced Eve there was no harm in eating the fruit so she does,  she offers Adam some and he eats it as well. God finds out banishes them from the Garden of Eden and dishes out some eternal punishments. The dilemma they faced was their curiosity to find out what would happen if they ate the fruit versus obeying God, they choose the former and as a result, suffered the consequences.

Tempt – to attempt to persuade or entice to do something, especially something morally wrong or unwise

Lure, seduce, invite, charm persuade, magnetize


Dilemma – A problem offering at least two possibilities but to choose one means you lose the other and this loss causes pain

Difficulty, problem, bind, puzzle, quandary

How to use it in your writing

Identify a moment in your story after the hero has experienced some difficulty and hazards and present him with an opportunity, from another character, to leave the quest. If he is able to resist this temptation we admire him as a hero. If he cannot resist, he is punished and made to suffer, it is a hard lesson learned.

Most often, but not always, the temptation will come from either the Goddess or the Antagonist of your story. Is this the case or does it need to come from another character, such as one of the hero’s allies?


The Hero’s journey – Meeting with the Goddess

Meeting of the Goddess

A unification with someone, it doesn’t have to be a woman but most likely is but it also includes self unification. It’s a stage where the hero receives a boost or support from love, specifically unconditional love, which means it is accepting of the good and the bad in someone, accepting both the bliss and the pain, the pleasure and the suffering.  Meeting someone who completes you, your opposite.

The Goddess also symbolizes the end goal of a better life that there is something above mundane and the dangerous something that makes life worth living. She is the hero’s muse, an inspiration for taking the heroic action.

In Blade Runner, Deckard’s job is to hunt down and eliminate Replicants. He meets Rachael, she’s had memory implants and doesn’t know she’s a Replicant. Even though she is what he must kill, he falls in love with her, he accepts her for what she is, good and bad.

In Star Wars A new Hope, Luke learns of Princess Leia’s detention and plans for extermination. She inspires him to not just wait where they were safe but to rescue her. She is leading a life he aspires to, she’s a rebel taking up the cause against the Empire and, as is often the case, she is in some exalted role of Princess.


Meeting – the act of coming together

Encounter, confront, rendezvous, merging, confluence, intersect, unite


Goddess – A female deity, a greatly admired or adored woman with extraordinary beauty and charm

Idol, creator, saint, model, superstar, spirit, seductress


Love – A passionate, personal attachment to someone.

Adulation, affection, respect, amour, devotion


Unify – to make or become a single unit.

Combine, merge, fuse, gather, intensify


Opposite – being the other of two related or corresponding things.

Unlike, conflicting, flip-side, different, diverse


How to use in your writing

Is your love story just two people getting together or is it a unification where they complete each other?

Does your hero find support or inspiration when meeting the Goddess?

Does the goddess represent a dilemma where the hero must sacrifice something to accept the good and the bad of someone?

Hero’s Journey – Belly of the whale

Belly of the whale

It is a turning point in the Hero’s Journey where the hero is swallowed by a larger monster or representative of evil and comes out with a new sense of self. The hero is consumed but emerges alive.

The whale is the personification of all that is unconscious; it is powerful, dangerous and it must be controlled by the conscious.

The purpose is to prepare the hero, physically and mentally for the challenges ahead. It is to reinforce in the mind of the hero that he is in a deadly situation. It is to understand and come to terms with death.

It’s also understood as the final separation from the hero’s previous world and the new world.

Baptism – Dipping someone in water – is symbolic of being emersed in something and people think the person has died. Then he comes back to life but is reborn anew.

The stage of Belly of the whale takes its name from the story of Jonah and the Whale.

God commanded Jonah to go and preach in Ninaveh about repentance but Jonah didn’t like that city so instead he went to another city by ship. A storm hit the boat and Jonah ended up overboard and was swallowed by a whale. He spent three days inside the whale and realized he must fulfill his obligation and face his responsibilities.

For Han solo in the Original Star Wars Trilogy, his Belly of the Whale moment is when he is put into carbon freeze. He is near death but when he emerges from this experience and has recovered the first thing he does is volunteer for the dangerous mission to take out the deflector shield. This is a shocking transformation of character, so much so that when Princess Leia finds out about it her jaw drops open. He is now, no longer a swashbuckling adventurer but a hero.

Breakdown of Belly of the whale


Definition – to consume or destroy as if by ingestion.


Engulf, destroy, demolish, envelop completely, overwhelm, consume


Definition – a ceremony, trial or experience by which one is initiated, purified or given a name.


Purification, emersion, submerge, initiation


Definition – An enlightenment causing someone to lead a new life


Resurgence, revitalization, salvation, revival

How to use in your script

Once your hero has crossed the First threshold, he shouldn’t conquer it, instead he should be overwhelmed and consumed by it. Has this happened in your script?

Does your hero have a near death experience?

Does this experience prepare them for challenge ahead?

Asking the right questions

Asking the right questions is a technique to open your mind to other possibilities when you are struggling to be creative.


I’ll show you this example but it applies in all areas of thinking and creativity.

A guy says he wants to be invisible so to answer that question directly we need to spend trillions of dollars developing metamaterials which are able to bend light around an object and thus make him invisible.

However, if we ask him why he wants to be invisible and his answer is because he wants to sneak into women’s change rooms, this opens the question up to a far wider group of answers.

Invisible can redefined as ‘something nobody notices.’

The answer to that question in terms of sneaking into women’s change rooms can be;

a) Dress as a woman

b) Hide inside a change room locker

c) Install a tiny camera

We can also explore the question deeper by asking why do you want to sneak into women’s change rooms and what are the alternatives to that;

a) Visit strip clubs

b) Get a girlfriend

c)Find other forms of entertainment

Here are six answers to the question of How do I become invisible. All of them are vastly less expensive than actually developing invisibility technology but they will provide a satisfying resolution.

So, if you’re suffering from writer’s block or you’ve painted yourself into a creative corner and you can’t get out of it, take a step back and start asking questions.

“I want to kill my main character’s mentor at this point but it’s essential to have the mentor at the end of the story”

Redefine kill to mean “I no longer have any respect for you and you are dead to me”

Is it possible for your character to have an experience with his mentor where he feels betrayed or let down by his mentor so the mentor doesn’t have to physically die but is dead for all intents and purposes.

Can the mentor’s death simply mean a physical separation so they can’t communicate?

The thing about asking questions is that it gives you options to explore and eliminate depending on their suitability for purpose.

I hope this helps, in the meantime if anyone needs me, I’m going to dress as a woman. Mwha ha ha

Failed Plans

[quote type=”center”]“My hero is awesome, I don’t want to make him look stupid or weak enough to suffer a failed plan.”[/quote] WRONG!


Failed plans don’t make your hero look stupid or weak. They are a chance to show the difficulty of the quest they are on, how strong their opponent is and also, the opportunity to show just how determined the hero is to succeed.


So what is a failed plan?


Take a look at Raiders of the Lost Arc, one of the best sequences in the film is the chase scene when Indy goes after the truck carrying the Arc and after fighting all the soldiers, getting dragged behind the truck he eventually makes it to the ship and escapes with Marion. Only to loose the Arc and Marion when the Sub threatens to blow the ship out of the water.

It’s a failed plan – save the Arc from the Germans  but they end up with it anyway. In fact the whole story of Raiders is one big failed plan, nothing he attempts to do actually works out. Even recover the Arc, is a fail because the US government dumps it in a warehouse.


Finding Nemo, one of the best films of all time, has a failed plan. The fish in the tank decide they are going to escape by damaging the filter so the water turns yucky and they get removed from the tank while its getting cleaned and escape. Nemo attempts a very dangerous move to put a stone in the filter, all the more harder because of his lucky fin.

But the escape plan fails because the dentist buys a new electronic filter and the tank is clean. So Nemo has to adapt and attempt a completely different type of escape.


[quote]Failed plans are good for another very important reason – they give you scenes.[/quote]


The writers may have had it in their minds all the time how Nemo was going to escape or have Indy cling onto a periscope. But you can’t just jump to that moment, you have to put the hero through Hell first.


You can have a scene to establish the need for a plan, plan is difficult but working, plan fails, Hero has to adapt to the new situation. These are good scenes and will help you flesh out a story.


See also Irony and then relate that to a failed plan.


Lets Talk About It

Let’s discuss failed plans, which movies have them, how and why they work and of course, why they fail. Start the conversation in the comments box below.