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Monday, May 18, 2009


Defeating Threshold Guardians by Adele Dubois

During the production process of my upcoming paranormal release DESERT WILD from Ellora’s Cave Publishing, I re-read Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers. This landmark work is based on The Hero’s Journey, the universal elements of storytelling, as identified by mythologist Joseph Campbell.

Vogler’s chapter on Threshold Guardians was of particular interest to me, because these character archetypes often separate mediocre fiction from great fiction. They represent the obstacles protagonists must overcome to win their rewards at the end of a story. Threshold Guardians test the protagonists’ determination, while also adding tension and increasing story conflict. While their tactics may be overt or subtle, their purpose is the same—to stop the protagonists from reaching their ultimate goals.

As writers, we meet countless Threshold Guardians that thwart our efforts and test our desire for achievement. Procrastination, nagging self-doubt, fear of success, confidence-shaking rejection letters, poor reviews or negative critique partners may erode our resolve. Unsupportive family members who ridicule our need to create may wear us down. Conflicting demands on our time slow our progress. For us to become successful, career-focused authors, we must learn to recognize and outwit these Threshold Guardians. As Vogler suggests, we must either make them our allies or defeat them and keep going.

While my heroine in DESERT WILD escaped vipers and bobcats in The Sonoran Desert, I found a way to eliminate chronic back pain and keep writing. When my hero from the Tohono O’odham Nation confronted the inner demons that threatened his future, I closed my office door and turned off my Internet access. No outside forces deterred us from our paths. We tackled one problem after the other until our goals were reached.

What are your Threshold Guardians? The challenges may change from day to day. They may be friendly forces or hostile, yet they stall our progress. Once we learn to identify roadblocks we can make them our allies or learn to outwit them, and ultimately reach our goals and claim our rewards.

©Adele Dubois, 2009

Adele Dubois writes paranormal and contemporary erotic romances for Ellora’s Cave Publishing that earn consistent outstanding reviews. Titles include DESERT WILD, DESERT FEVER, INTIMATE ART and DREAM TRAVELER. Visit Adele Dubois at www.adeledubois.com/

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