Following the Hero’s Journey
In most modern storytelling, the writer has us following the hero’s journey. This is a formula that has withstood the test of time and re-surges again and again. The hero must conquer perilous battles and return home, triumphant. When we are introduced to our hero he is but a poor laborer, struggling to make ends meet for his loving family. There is usually an event, a crisis that propels him into a life or death decision. Although we know he will take the difficult road, we are on the edge of our seats wondering what he will do.
As he makes this monumental announcement, we know we must follow his hero’s journey. The path is fraught with a number of increasingly difficult challenges. We watch his growth into super-human-hood as he bests each of these hurdles. After completing the impossible, our hero must face the most challenging hurdle of all. He must return home. He is a different person, somehow larger than life, but more humble and much wiser. The draw of this type of story line is that the reader gets to become the hero. The reader identifies with the character and follows every step of the journey.
Is this kind of writing only for fiction novels or can we use it in technical writing as well? Definitely you can use this model for technical writing. You want the reader to become the hero of your book and surmount the challenges and learn the techniques you outline. Your reader must commit to persist through unknown territory and best the beast of technology.
The challenges will get increasingly difficult and will take more and more tenacity to conquer, until at last, our hero has completed the task. The techniques have been learned. The information has become ingrained. The reader must now take this knowledge and incorporate it into normal life.
It is important to know that no matter what kind of book you’re writing, the reader has to become a part of it. The story of how to put a washing machine together can be as entertaining as a Knight’s journey across a desert. Imagine the hero’s welcome our friend receives on laundry day. Take all your readers on a journey to success. It is not the writer but the reader who is the hero of any book.