We all know that a novel isn’t really a novel if the characters don’t do anything or if they don’t go anywhere. Most of the time (but also depending on the genre), the characters leave home and go on some sort of journey.
This can happen in a number of different ways.
What’s the difference between Adventure and Quest?
Adventure is when you go on a long expedition sometimes to unknown territory. It’s exciting, a little scary, and maybe a bit bizarre.
Quest means you’re searching for something or someone. I guess you could say it’s like an adventure, but with more meaning behind it.
Why would your protagonist go on an adventure or quest?
So many things can happen to the main character in a story that begins the plot, that causes the protagonist to move forward.
- A stranger comes and asks for help
- Someone they know and is close to asks for help
- They get a message from someone somewhere
- They’re adventurous and go off on their own running into the heart of the story
- A threat is being made to someone, something, or somewhere and they must try to fix it
- They may not journey anywhere. Someone may journey to them and they go from there
Anything that would cause your protagonist to jump out of their seat and go is a reason for them to go on an adventure.
Of course, they may not even want to go on the adventure and they have to be forced or convinced to get going. I think that makes everything more interesting.
For example, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins doesn’t want to go on a journey. He’s perfectly happy staying at home, away from everyone else. They have to convince him and he even passes out in the movie. (I can’t remember if he passed out or not in the book. It’s been a while.)
Meanwhile, in Disney’s latest film, Moana, Moana wants to go on an adventure, but everyone stops her. It’s not until something drastic happens that she decides to go against everyone and just go.
Some characters have that sense of adventure and others don’t. Which trait is your character likely to have?
Where do they go?
They can go anywhere.
They can go to the other side of the state, to the other side of the country, to a new country, or halfway around the world. Or, they can even go to a different time, if that’s what’s needed for your story and genre.
Or, as I said earlier, someone could journey to your protagonist. In which case, your protagonist’s home could be the destination. Together, they search deeper in their town or village for whatever the stranger needs or wants.
Writing about adventures and quests is a lot of fun. It adds more depth and meaning to the story and allows you explore who your characters really are. You find out what they would do in certain situations and you discover things about them you wouldn’t normally see if they had just stayed at home and continued to go to work every day.
Of course, I think this depends on the genre as well. If you’re writing fantasy, someone is bound to go somewhere. If you’re writing a high school drama, not too much is going to happen other than the occasional college visit.
What do you think of adventures and quests? Do you typically write them? What other advice do you have? Let me know in the comments below!
In other news, I’ve challenged myself to read five books between Sunday, February 19 and Sunday, February 26. Feel free to join me and check out my daily updates on Twitter, Tumblr, and my Bookstagram!