THE VIRGIN'S PROMISE
The Virgin's Promise story structure was introduced by Kim Hudson, and you can read more about it in her book, The Virgin's Promise: Writing Stories of Feminine Creative, Spiritual, and Sexual Awakening.
This story structure was developed somewhat in reaction to the Hero's Journey structure that I described in my previous post, and is presented by Hudson as a "feminine" story structure, though she stresses that the "virgin" in the tale can be either male or female, just as the "hero" in the Hero's Journey can be of either sex.
The beats she identifies are as follows:
1. DEPENDENT WORLD
At the beginning of the story, the Virgin is entwined with her community in such a way that she is dependent on it, or it is dependent on her. However, the expectations of her community are at odds with the Virgin's dreams for herself.
2. PRICE OF CONFORMITY
The Virgin tries to conform to the expectations of those around her, but in order to do so, she must suppress her true self.
3. OPPORTUNITY TO SHINE
Something happens that allows the Virgin to express her true self for the first time, usually in secret.
4. DRESS THE PART
She acknowledges her true self by dressing the part, even if only temporarily.
5. SECRET WORLD
The Virgin begins to practice being her true self in secret, while still appeasing the community.
6. NO LONGER FITS HER WORLD
As the Virgin becomes increasingly excited about her dream, and confident about her true self, she is less able to fit into the conventions of her community, and begins to realize that she can't ultimately do both.
7. CAUGHT SHINING
The Dependent World and the Secret World collide, and the Virgin suffers the consequences she feared, often shame or exile (literal, or figurative).
8. GIVES UP WHAT KEPT HER STUCK
The crisis gives the Virgin a moment of clarity in which she is able to give up what has been holding her back from being her true self and following her dream. This is a major turning point for the Virgin.
9. KINGDOM IN CHAOS
As the Virgin's ties of dependency are broken, those she depended on, or those who depended on her are thrown into chaos because she is no longer filling her expected role.
10. WANDERS IN THE WILDERNESS
Having lost her community because of her dream, the Virgin's conviction is tested, and she may experience a dark moment of self-doubt. She must decide whether to submit to the community's expectations, or be true to herself and follow her dream.
11. CHOOSES HER LIGHT
She decides to be true to herself and follow her dream, regardless of the consequences. At last she is free to fully become her true self.
12. THE RE-ORDERING
As she blossoms fully into her true self, she begins to see her true value, and those around her also begin to see it. She reconnects with her community in a new capacity.
13. THE KINGDOM IS BRIGHTER
The Virgin's challenge to the order of the community has revealed flaws, and given the community a chance to make needed changes. The whole community is benefited through the Virgin's experience.