One of the keys to great fiction is a conflict or struggle that has enough weight to carry the story and enough tension to keep the reader turning pages. That struggle can best be understood by looking deep into the “shadow”—your hero’s adversary. Long-time editors Marileta Robinson and Kim T. Griswell have developed a workshop to guide writers toward understanding the role of the Shadow. They’ve planned plenty of time for critiquing and revising to strengthen an existing manuscript.
“Many stories can be seen as a struggle of the main character for wholeness. The adventure to which the hero is called is actually an invitation to take back parts of himself that have been rejected or repressed. These parts represent the Shadow. They have been shoved into the unconscious, where they become a destructive force. They may be projected onto another character, who becomes the villain the hero must confront. The journey is about acquiring the wisdom and experience to be able to accept and transform these shortcomings.
“What keeps your character from being complete at the beginning of the story? What parts of himself does he deny? What does she hate or fear? Like the missing pieces of a puzzle, these elements will determine what kind of struggle awaits the hero.”
“The hero doesn’t just confront the Shadow within himself on his journey for wholeness, he must confront—and overcome—the Shadow in its manifestations in the physical world. The Shadow shows up in many ways: Wild Things that need taming, dark towers that must be climbed, rings that must be thrown into the Crack of Doom. For your tale to have depth, you must be sure that the Shadow and its minions challenge your hero in many forms—not just the single form of the major adversary. These manifestations make your story rich, detailed, real, and—when well crafted—publishable.”
—Kim T. Griswell
If you’d like to learn more from Marileta and Kim, they will be teaching The Hero and the Shadow for the Highlights Foundation from April 16—18, 2010. The workshop takes place near Honesdale, Pennsylvania, at the homeplace of the Founders of Highlights for Children. To reserve your spot, contact Jo Lloyd at 570-253-1192 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANNOUNCING A SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER!
Marileta and Kim are pleased to welcome special guest K.L. Going (Kelly), award-winning author of The Liberation of Gabriel King, Saint Iggy, and The Garden of Eve. Kelly will talk about her work and share the “shadows” that make her books outstanding.
For more information, visit www.highlightsfoundation.org.