Wielding Inspiration

It’s been said that there are no original ideas.  Joseph Campbell alluded to this by explaining the Journey of the Hero.  Being aware of that, a good writer knows that inspirational forces will have some sway over a story.

Knowing that Dual Identities is in many ways an internal story for my protagonist, I wanted to find a way to show her journey using a dreamlike, mental landscape.  Since Kathryn experiences a degree of apotheosis in the story, I thought it fitting to pattern part of her story on something that features a quest and a moment of divine empowerment.

So, I’m going to talk a little about Journey.

The 2012 PS3 game Journey is very simple in design and execution.  You are presented a character who does not speak and given a simple visual destination in the form of a distant mountain.  Then you start walking, making an occasional jump, and freeing trapped forces.  Most of the story is presented visually, enhanced by sound and music only.  There is multiplayer, but there is no form of chat using voice or text.  Through its simplicity, Journey creates a tale of awe and emotional power.

Having played it and watched my friends play it, I’ve decided that if someone plays Journey and doesn’t have an emotional response, they have no soul.  It possesses an enchanting power, drawing on the basic nature of human experience.  It’s the sort of impact that I would love to tap into with my writing.

My plan is not to retell Journey with my characters.  Such a thing would be impossible.  I only want to use the symbology presented to craft a different narrative, one that can create an emotional response for anyone who reads it.

Journey opens in a desert with the hero rising and climbing a hill.  The mountain comes into view, becoming a destination by default at first, then with greater purpose as the game goes on.

Deserts, climbing, mountains, and growing purposes are all parts of basic storytelling, especially in a mythological sense.  The same can be said for the quest for knowledge, falling out of the light, and traveling through the underworld.  Sometimes these are metaphors, but not always.  The nuance, the presentation, the characterization, those are all ways we make our stories distinct.

My plan is to use Journey as a force of inspiration, but I cannot and will not try to use my writing as different wrapping for that story.  thatgamecompany created something wonderful with Journey; I’m just trying to follow in their footsteps.


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