7. The Inner Conflict
The inmost cave may represent a variety of things such as an actual location where a terrible danger lies in wait or an inner conflict boils up to the surface which, until now, the hero hasn’t had to face. As the hero approaches her cave, she must make final preparations before taking that last leap into the great unknown. This may involve facing some of her doubts and fears again, which sent her on the Call to Adventure. This can require some time to process her journey and the perilous road so she can gather the courage she must. This break from the action helps readers understand the stakes of the journey ahead and heightens the conflict as the hero will face her ultimate test.
“But then the bat couldn’t open his mouth for a while, and the fairies started laughing.”
“Doris put a little extra honey in there too, so they couldn’t speak for a short time after they ate their cakes.”
Doris’s innermost cave is how her hospitality will work to create peace for the bats and the fairies that have inhabited her home. There is a pause in the action here for the reader to feel the stakes. Will the bats be angry that the honey caused them to stay silent? How would the bats react to laughter of the fairies? Would the bats have a sense of humor? Would her “perfect” canary-inspired idea of baking honey cakes for the bats with the crunchy centers turn into a nightmare? Would Doris be more of an outcast than ever if the bats AND the fairies looked down on her silly ways and ideas? She thought she had it bad just being a duck-sized fairy, but now the stakes are higher.
Have you ever visited your innermost cave? What did it look like? Was it like Doris’s, where you had a plan that brought up an inner conflict and made you face your worst fears? Or has a situation put you in a dangerous place? What final preparations did you have to make before you leapt into the great unknown? What was at stake when you finally gathered your courage to face your ultimate test? Write about your innermost cave (inner conflict or an actual location) and what doubts and fears you had to process there.
Download Doris-In-The-Green, a chapter from my book, 21 Olive Trees: A Dedication to the Hero’s Journey.