This week: Suspense Edited by: Annette
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|"I think new writers are too worried that it has all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you." -- Asha Dornfest|
Write an adventure story that ropes your readers in by building suspense and creating a hero the readers want to root for.
If you're unsure on how to get started, read a few popular adventure story compilations or novels. Try a few different types. A classic, something from the late 20th century, and find something that was written after the internet was widely available. See how the different times influenced different action/adventure writers and use that to develop your own style.
Once you start writing your first adventure story, go ahead and use the hero's journey framework. It will guide you through the flow of an adventure story as it has been successfully told for thousands of years. This is where the quote comes in.
"I think new writers are too worried that it has all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you." -- Asha Dornfest
Your story will be uniquely yours. Your characters, your storyline, your twists and turns are all invented by you. And it is perfectly okay to put them into a time-tested rhythm.
Make your main character compelling by including a weakness. A fear, a regrettable past mistake, or anything else that you can imagine that ensures your character isn't just Wonder Woman. A character should be somewhat relatable so that feels good to root for her.
To give the story a red thread to follow, use the hunt for an artifact, or the search for clues to a mystery. Whatever you choose, it has to ignite the hero's adventure. The catalyst has to be something that the hero can't simply blow off or put off until later.
Give your adventurer a supporting character or a few of them. Even if one character is usually the leader, dynamic duos, teams of three, or five-man-bands abound in story telling. That way, your hero isn't alone and can experience some peril and have helpers to figure things out.
Let the environment play a role. Set the story in an inhospitable jungle, on a frosty mountain, in a dangerous neighborhood, or on a newly discovered planet. Any of these immediately raises the stakes without needing a human antagonist to do all the work of antagonizing. If you don't like to leave town, you can always use a storm, a flood, or something else in the local environment that raises the stakes.
Tell the story in a way that the reader is kept in suspense about the resolution for most of the story. You can do that by amplifying the risk by adding dramatic plot points created by the environment or antagonist. In the classic story, your hero must at one point be in a situation that is hopeless. The villain or antagonist holds all the good cards. Now is your hero's time to shine and overcome this moment.
Add an element of breathlessness by putting your hero on a timer. If a certain amount of time elapses, everything will be lost. Remind the reader of the tick-tick-ticking clock throughout as it fits neatly into the narrative. If you want to, put the antagonist on the same timer and both have to compete for the same artifact.
In the end, make sure your protagonist or team has experienced a transformation of some kind and they should come away with a new perspective on life and their own capabilities.
How often do your chapters end in cliffhangers?
| ||Enchantment Rock (E)|
I traveled through time to Enchantment Rock off Ranch Road near Fredricksburg, Texas
#2287730 by Espero
| ||Jasper Rathbone (E)|
The adventures of Jasper Rathbone a Teen from a non magic family in a town filled with it.
#2288756 by jolanh
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|For next time, let me know: How often do your chapters end in cliffhangers?|
My last Action/Adventure newsletter "Time" that asked What is a good timeframe for an Action/Adventure story? A day? A week? A millennium? received this reply:
Monty wrote: Often I read and see at that time, then later see it made into a TV show and it not nearly as good as the story I read.
You are so right that TV shows or movies rarely match a written book.
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