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Lesson #16 Right Side VS Left Side of the Wheel

With the Fool archetype, we are halfway through the film and entering the third act (out of four) on the feature film wheel structure.

Before I explain this stage, I would like to draw your attention to several more layers of meaning of the Intuitive screenwriting wheel, especially because they are going to become quite important right after the midpoint.

Intuitive screenwriting wheel as human brain

You already know that all of the stages are actually dual. Even though we have 12 archetypes (or states of awareness), we actually have six (dual) whole steps, lines or spectrums (you may remember that I referred to these as “axes” in the previous posts).

So, once we reach the midpoint, all of the archetypal stages that the hero is going through are actually known to him.

In the third and fourth act they are mirror expression from the first two acts, so they are not exactly the same, but the truth is the hero touched every archetype (at least their shadow side) with his awareness.

That’s why it is very important to have the following in mind:

While going through the left side of the wheel (from the beginning until the midpoint), the hero is encountering archetypes for the first time and of course, he is going to be surprised. But as soon as he encounters an archetype in himself he already had the pleasure of meeting, his psyche responds with awareness.

That’s why the whole first part of the film is the ‘set up’ and the whole second part of the film is the ‘resolution’ where the hero is integrating every shadow of every consciousness step by step.

The first time around we have Warrior -->Fool, while second time we have Fool-->Warrior and so on. We can also say that the Warrior is not aware of the Fool, but later on, the Fool is aware of his own shadow and of the existence of the Warrior. So actually, in the second part of the story, the hero can become aware of his own duality.

I also see the wheel as a manifestation and representation of the human brain and you know that the two sides of the brain have different functions.

The left side is our logical side, it is preoccupied with science and linear thinking, it uses structures, numbers, and words to understand the world, while our right side is more visual, intuitive, art-oriented, it draws conclusions about life in an associative way. They are equally important and when used in harmony with each other, our capacity to understand and participate in life is much better than when one side is overpowering the other.

It is commonly believed that we are prone to use one side of the brain much more than the other, but this is actually not the case:

“The two hemispheres are tied together by bundles of nerve fibers, creating an information highway. Although the two sides function differently, they work together and complement each other. You don’t use only one side of your brain at a time. Whether you’re performing a logical or creative function, you’re receiving input from both sides of your brain.” (...)


What’s important is to understand that even though the wave and the particle exist at the same time, we can’t perceive the wave when in the presence of the particle. To understand better this quantum physics approach, imagine being awake and asleep at the same time. Even though that’s really difficult, it is known that in our state of wakefulness we actually use dream material to clarify reality and that in our dreams, we use reality to clarify our subconsciousness.

In a similar way, from the storytelling perspective, I can see that the left side of the wheel usually follows the logical twists and turns, while the right side is more intuitive and not so much predictive - but as you already know, they definitely work together, and they actually need each other.

That’s why, I think it is fair to say that the first half of the story or film is always approached from a conscious perspective, or state of wakefulness (Warrior, Creator, Explorer, Lover, Sage, Ruler) – meaning that the hero is aware of what is happening to him, what he wishes for. On the other hand, his shadows are absolutely not integrated (Fool, Orphan, Magician, Caregiver, Destroyer, Innocent) and therefore they are usually projected into someone else. At the same time, those shadows are exactly what are driving the hero’s desires, without him being aware of it.

The second part of the film is different in that sense; the story or plot is forcing the hero to go into his subconscious mind, where shadows from the second half of the wheel are finally addressed. The hero is aware of the shadows from the first half of the wheel as well.

This integration, as a crucial part of individuation (self-actualization through a process of integrating the conscious and the unconscious) is the essence of any story and the real dynamics behind the hero’s journey. It is also the real reason behind storytelling in general.

That’s why I thought before we start to really go deep into the second half of the film, it would be wise to explore one more layer in understanding the wheel.



Observe your plot throughout the screenplay or outline and see how this theory applies to your hero.

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