This month at Collab Writers there was magic in the air, as we hung on every word of the Joseph Campbell of our times – storyteller and creative writing teacher, Kim Hudson as she talked us through a new model of storytelling, The Virgin’s Promise.
Kim gave us her scoop on a story structure that is new and fresh and has come into its own in the pandemic where we are eager to tell stories that matter. The Virgin’s Promise is a wonderfully meaningful story structure that is the perfect framework on which to build such stories. There are 13 beats suitable to tell stories of personal growth, creative, spiritual and sexual awakening, to name a few .
Kim calls these stories ‘feminine stories’ and don’t let that put anyone off, who doesn’t identify themselves as feminine. The story structure works just as well to tell masculine stories. Regardless of sex, we all have yin and yang in us and we all have what we have come to recognise as masculine and feminine energy. The thing is, we don’t always embrace both sides. Many of the Hollywood movies we watch focus more on external achievement, with screenwriters having been schooled in the art of telling the hero’s journey of going out into the world and achieving something, coming back home and shouting about success to the outside world. We often see this play out in stories that follow the 12 beat structure of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.
Chritopher Vogler, who wrote ‘The Memo’ that changed storytelling in Hollywood, has written The Foreword to Kim’s book, and says the following:
"What I found in these pages was an eye-opening retelling of the universal human story from the feminine perspective, with quite different language and thinking than I had considered."
The Virgin story is about knowing one’s own dream and bringing this to life within a world that often doesn’t support that and it’s through that inner challenge that the growth occurs and the Virgin can become who she was truly meant to be. Sound familiar? The 13 beats of Kim Hudson’s ‘Virgin’s Archetypal Journey’ from Kim’s book, The Virgin’s Promise are:
” 1. Dependent World – 2. Price of Conformity – 3. Opportunity to Shine – 4. Dresses The Part – 5. Secret World – 6. No Longer Fits her World – 7.Caught Shining – 8. Gives Up What Kept Her Stuck – 9. Kingdom in Chaos – 10. Wanders in The Wilderness – 11. Choose Her Light – 12. Re-ordering (Rescue) – 13. The Kingdom is Brighter.”
Movies that follow The Virgin’s Promise
To give us context, Kim talked us through stories of Personal Growth that we know and love that once upon a time we might have gone out to the cinema to see (yes, remember those wonderful days!), like Joker, Roman Holiday, Jo Jo Rabbit, Billy Elliot, The Wife and Her.
Stories of our Time
In the pandemic, outer and inner worlds have become more polarised and we’ve seen heros and anti-heros playing out on the world stage. I won’t mention any anti-heros by name but there have been plenty of examples in 2020. Like in the novels we write and read and movies we write and see, these heros often refuse to admit defeat and cling on to the bitter end, whether or not they have the support of the community or the moral upper ground.
They often share a common trait, they are right and it’s their view of the world that they will defend to the bitter end, regardless.
Is it time to tell new stories?
Since our session with Kim, there has been a seismic shift on the world stage. I’ve been asking myself “are we done with the hero’s journey?” Is it time for a new story structure? One that isn’t focussed on the strongest or smartest, or on achievements in the outer world, but rather upon the inner world and the journey we experience within, through personal growth and change to become who we came here to be, whether society approves or not.
It’s true that for many of us, lockdown has given us the opportunity to get know ourselves much better. As we can’t go out, we have gone within. We’ve had to get up close and personal with our lives, relationships, feelings, our work, or lack thereof and really ask ourselves some home truths. Home truths that reveal our inner make up, who we really are, and why we are here, especially at this time.
Need some help to discover your story of personal growth?
The beauty of Kim’s Virgin story structure is that the 13 beats don’t have to roll in any particular order. They can be mixed up and appear in your story in any order which is why stories that follow this structure tend to be intense, memorable and unique.
Let’s together disrupt the old way of storytelling and embrace a deeper, more meaningful way to tell our stories where no two are the same. Kim’s teachings can help you do this with grace and you never know, you might just enjoy it. After all, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
I truly believe that the future belongs to those who dare to be different, not to those who follow the crowd.
If you want to treat yourself to some new notebooks to write your stories in. Or, if you are looking for unique gifts for Christmas, check out our Collab Writers limited edition notebooks, designed by London print designer, Caroline Lowe. As 2020 has been hard on creatives, here is an opportunity to support a talented artist this Christmas!
Two Collab Writers Original Notebooks
Designed and made by print designer Caroline Lowe. This pair of show-stopping notebooks are just-the-thing to give a home to your creative thoughts. A snip at £25 a pair including postage in Europe. If you are outside Europe, please do email us for a postage quote.