This week: Five Pillars of Action Adventure Edited by: Annette
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Five Pillars of Action Adventure
The five pillars of action-adventure can improve your Action/Adventure story.
1. A Hero with our without a sidekick.
Every reader knows of the many solo heroes. James Bond has a team in the background and sometimes gets into romantic affairs, but when push comes to shove, he jumps off the train into the boiling volcano by himself.
Two heroes could share the spotlight in a dynamic duo team up. Or you flip that into the dueling duo in which both characters come from opposite sides. In Shaw and Hobbs, an FBI agent has to work with a criminal to ... I am not sure what they were trying to accomplish, but the trucks were jumping over helicopters, so it counts as action.
A romantic duo can also exist where two main heroes have a thing for each other, but before they can take care of that, they have to find something or rescue somebody.
A group of heroes, like in The Umbrella Academy can work in longer fiction, but might be overwhelming to short stories.
2. People with unique professions.
Heroes come from a somewhat typical list of professions. There is the soldier turned mercenary. The professor turned explorer. The archeologist who stumbles upon a mysterious box. The reporter who goes to dangerous places. The librarian who follows clues in an old book. The accountant who has to jump out of windows to protect his client's records. The lawyer who works as a detective to exonerate her clients. As fun as smug heroes such as James Bond are, their type has been used up. The competent hero who dominates everything and anything without a hair out of place is fun, but overused.
To freshen up the genre, you might challenge yourself to come up with a character whose skillset is not obviously suited to action adventuring.
3. An impossible task with extra hurdles.
No matter which team up or solo adventurer you choose to carry your story, there has to be a definitive task that requires accomplishing. It has to be dangerous. Ideally, there is a time-limit. Something that lights a fire under your hero's motivation to get going and get it over with.
Depending on the length of the story, additional hurdles should show up over the course of the story.
4. Villainous Antagonist
A hero is not much without a worthy adversary. A larger than life villain is a good place to begin.
The villain can be a single person who is out to get the hero. The villain could be a kidnapper that the hero is trying to find. The villain has to be aware of the hero and they have to be entangled in a cat and mouse game in which the villain has the upper hand for the longest time.
Overcoming the villain will require that the hero digs deep into their skills, endurance, and wits. You might go as far as using The Hand of God to give your hero an opportunity to overcome the villain.
5. Location, Location, Location
If your characters are kids, it is perfectly fine to let them have adventures in their immediate neighborhood. However, if you read the older classics, even kids usually find the time to go on adventures when they are:
in boarding school
escaping their former surroundings.
Adult action heroes are either driven to go search for something in a far off place or they are dragged off to a far off place. The more hostile and unusual the surroundings are to the hero, the higher the stakes.
No matter if jungle, desert, in the sky, under the ocean - an environment that in itself promises adventure adds texture to your story without the need for excessive exposition.
Can you think of another typical Action Adventure ingredient?
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|Replies to my last Action/Adventure newsletter "Suspense" that asked How often do your chapters end in cliffhangers?|
Quick-Quill wrote: I love writing cliff hangers
Monty wrote: Thanks for another interesting N/L
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