The structure of my fan fiction follows Volger’s (1998) mythic structure in many ways. I based it on Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984), using the world and events from that to tell another story.
For the most part my story follows the three act structure that Vogler (1998) suggests underlines all great narrative.
In the first act, my main hero (Rald) starts out in his ordinary world, which is being a crewman on an aircraft. This section of the story sets up the setting, some of the characters and the driving narrative (the mission to save the Pejite people). He is called to adventure when his captain asks him to continue their mission after the crash, and while he is reluctant, the captain then orders him (similar to the encouragement provided by the mentor), and then he enters into his special world, in this case the balloon that will then take him towards his goal.
It also encompases a couple of elements of the second act. He encounters an ally in the form of his fellow crew mate, Bathol, and then face a test in the form of an insect attack. This is a speeding up of the action, adding to the urgency of the story and pushing the plot towards some form of conclusion.
In terms of Vogler’s “Archetypes”, several of them are present in my story for various reasons. The primary archetype that I used is that of the Hero. Rald is the protagonist of the story, and is at the centre of its events. While he is unwilling to be a hero to some extent (hesitating to complete the mission), he feels duty bound to do what is necessary. He overcomes obstacles (the crash, fighting the insects) and has good intentions, though he is not confident in his own abilities. He is a character that is easy to empathise with, as he has doubts that we can relate to, but also wishes to do what is right and help his people by completing the mission. He also cares for his captain, and is torn between helping him and completing what he is tasked with doing. This empathy makes him a more relatable character.
The captain reflects some of the aspects of the mentor figure, as he helps to reassure and guide the hero character through the start of the story. However, there are also elements of the Herald in his character, as he provides motivation, pointing Rald towards his duty, and is almost the exemplar of what he aims to be.
Takahata, I. (Producer), & Miyazaki, H. (Director). (1984). Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind [Motion picture]. Japan: Toei Company.
Vogler, C. 1998. The writer’s journey: Mythic structure for writers. Studio City, CA: Michael
“They are coming!” The cry from the gunners post on the top of the airship sent fear running through Rald’s gut as he stood guard over the cargo. Already, the thrum of countless wings buzzing in unison could be heard over the roaring of the engines. It would be only a matter of time till the swarm reached them, cutting through the thin metal plating with claw and mandible. Captain Belam, the best ship commander in the Pejite fleet, stood behind the pilots seat, watching the speed indicator as they flew above dust filled plains that surrounded the capital. It would only be a few minutes until they reached the capital, and had to face the guns of the Tolmekian army garrisoned there.
“Keep on course. Gunners! Prepare to engage any insects that get within range, but hold fire until I give the word.” The captain moved back to where Rald and the other guards were protecting the cargo. Capturing an infant Ohmu had been difficult. Escaping the Toxic jungle in one piece had cost them both of their escort ships; and now the hoard of bugs was sweeping across the plains towards the capital. The captain nodded as Rald saluted smartly.
“It won’t be long now, soldier. Soon, we will be free of these damned Tolmekians.”
“Aye sir.” The captain looked up at the doubt in Ralds voice.
“Don’t you believe this will win the war for us?”
“It’s not my place to question orders sir!” A slight smile touched the captains lips at the stoic response, and he was about to respond when the pilot yelled out.
“Incoming fire from Tolmekian defenses! Everyone brace for-” There was a sudden bang as one of the engines was hit by the volleys from the turrets lining the walls of the capital. Flames sprouted from the damaged mechanisms, and the ship began to tilt heavily towards the left. All the crew were thrown to the ground, but the captain was quick to run for the cockpit of the airship. He shoved the pilot from his seat and took the controls, wrestling to stabilize their flight path. The Ohmu was moaning as the chains embedded in its shell were wrenched about, sending blue blood spilling out across the floor. Its eyes were dull, and its initial struggles against its bonds had weakened. Rald jabbed his spear into its side to quiet it down, and staggered again as the ship took another hit. The captain was still at the controls, and he shouted without looking back.
“Were heading down! Everyone brace for impact!” The ship began to take a steep dive, sending everyone tumbling. Ralds last view before the crash was the sight of his captain at the helm, pulling hard to flatten out their descent. Then there was a loud crash, and darkness claimed him.
When Rald came back around, it was amongst the ruins of the ship, with the flames of burning fuel filling the cramped compartment with thick, oily smoke. Only one of his eyes would open, as the other was sealed with dried blood from a gash on his head, and he picked at it furiously in an attempt to clear it. Staggering to his feat, he glanced about, and saw the mangled remains of the pilot where he had been crushed by falling debris. The cockpit itself was buried in the rubble of whatever building they had ploughed into, and Rald moved to see if the captain was still alive. He found him buried under a pile of loose masonry and twisted metal; only his shoulders and head were not entombed in the ruins. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth, and his gasps sounded like the pumps that drew water from deep beneath the city. His eyes locked onto me as I knelt over him, trapping me in their gaze.
“Rald, there isn’t much time. The Insects will be assaulting the city by now, slaughtering the Tolmekians and driving them from our land.” He grunted as the rubble heaped upon him shifted slightly. “Take the emergency blimp, and get that Ohm to the Valley of the Wind.”
“That’s an order soldier!” Rald jumped, and with the automatic reactions of any trained soldier was already moving to release the blimp by the time his brain was caught up with what he was doing. But orders were orders, and with no small sense of reluctance Rald opened the roof of the airship and launched the balloon and basket. He tightened the chains that attached the baby Ohmu to the basket, and began to climb the rope still connecting it to the surface.
“Wait! I’ll come with you.” Rald looked back to see Bathol, another of the guards, stumbling towards the rope. Soon, they were both standing comfortably in the basket as the balloon strained to lift them free. Bathol reached down and cut through the tether keeping them earthbound, and they lurched skyward, almost sending Rald tumbling over the side. As they rose, they cleared some of the smoke, and more of the city became visible. It was slowly being overwhelmed by a tide of chittering bugs. There were only a handful of Tolmekians still firing on the walls, and a number of Ohmu were crashing through the poorer districts of the capital. Bathol was setting their guide wings on a direct course to the Valley of the Wind, when there was a high pitched buzzing that filled the air.
“Incoming!” Rald yelled as a large flying insect shot straight towards them, mandibles clicking together in anticipation. Grabbing onto thee mounted machine gun, he pulled the trigger and filled the air with a wall of lead. Several impact caused bursts of bluish ichor from the bugs carapace, and with a screech it shot past, slamming into the ruins below them.
“We need to get going!” Rald yelled over the wind as it began to pick up.
“Agreed!” And with that, they caught the rushing air and were off.