After the Call to Adventure happens, the Protagonist’s Ordinary World is thrown off-balance and she must return to balance.
By reacting, she is forced to deal with the complication.
The Protagonist’s reaction, how she’s going to deal with this situation, is the Debate Section, sometimes called the Refusal of the Call.
How Myth works
In a Myth, the Hero (usually) refuses the call because readily accepting Change in your life is a hard thing, very hard.
The Hero, like most humans, does not consider changing and therefore, she “refuses the call.”
Because of this refusal, a MENTOR enters her life to jump-start the Journey.
Refusal of the Call
Because the Protagonist loves her Ordinary World, she refuses to leave this place she calls “home.”
Because of the Call, the Protagonist is given a Complication so pressing that she must stop what she’s doing and deal with this.
Not right now, Yesterday!
As a result, she will usually choose her known (Ordinary World) rather than the unknown (Call to Adventure).
Why Refusal is weak
This has worked for thousands of years and it’s hard for me to say it’s weak, trust me, I already know the sh$$ I’m going to hear about this.
But it’s not a weak beat, I think our phrase for this beat is weak, calling it the Refusal of the Call doesn’t quite capture the ESSENCE of this beat.
Honestly, think about it.
When you have a Complication in your life, do you refuse the complication or do you deal with it?
And how do you deal with a Complication?
You debate ways to solve it, to avoid it, and you choose the best way with the information you have on hand right now.
NOTE: That’s why screenwriters love Dilemmas because it’s such an extraordinary event, the Debate section can hold the audience’s attention for half and sometimes, the entire length of a film.
And the format is the same: the Protagonist debates between two choices, make sense?
Why Debate works
By calling this beat a Debate, it opens you to bringing richer material in your Story Design.
With richness, you bring dynamic and diversified ways of Story Design and capturing the imagination of your reader, your audience, and many times, even yourself!
Like the Moral Premise argument, using the Refusal of the Call only deals with half of the problem.
Sometimes, the Hero decides to accept the call.
Therefore, we just “skip” the beat, that’s not working for me and that’s shallow Story Design.
By incorporating both sides, you clarify the beat in an efficient term.
Use it and it will bring your stories dynamic power and diversity!