On Quests And Adventures: Where Is Your Hero Going And Why?

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.

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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.

In conclusion

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!

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Why Theme In Novels Are Important

When you were read to as a kid most books had a moral, right? Be kind to your friends, change happens and that’s okay, etc.

When I read to my preschoolers at work, it usually connects with our current unit. It’s a learning point, it connects us to real life.

Reading, as you get older, doesn’t really change. There’s usually a moral, or life lesson, and there’s always a theme. Some themes include growing up, or coming of age, time, life and death, love, and so much more. Anything could be a theme, really.

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What is a theme?

The theme of a novel is a life lesson, it’s what the book is trying to teach you. It’s the “big idea” or the main message the characters and plot are trying to tell you.

An author may have a theme in mind when they write, but in my opinion, I think the theme can also be interpreted by the reader. Everyone has a different opinion, we all view things differently. I may think a book means one thing, while it may have a completely different meaning to you.

Why are themes important in novels?

Why do we read? We read to entertain ourselves, we read to learn something new, we read to escape the world. What do we like to read? We like to read books we can relate to.

Themes are important in novels because it allows the readers to connect themselves with the book. It allows them to connect what’s going on with the characters with what’s going on in real life.

It teaches readers something new, it assures them that everything is going to be okay.

Did you recently break up with your significant other? You’re most likely going to go pick up a book about a break-up and revenge or something like that. Or, you may end up picking up cheesy romance novels and then cry yourself to sleep. Everyone’s different.

So, what themes should you write about?

Write about what you want, what you’re interested in, what you know most about.

Relate your writing to your own life and it will become much easier. Ultimately, write about whatever you want.However, your own life experiences can be a life lesson for someone else.

For example, 11 years ago, my aunt passed away unexpectedly at the age of 32. Most of my writing was based off of that. Death, grieving, the circle of life. It helps you, it helps your readers. There’s a deeper meaning behind it all.

A list of common literary themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Circle of life
  • Coming of age
  • Power
  • Beauty
  • Communication
  • Friendship
  • Love
  • Death
  • Fear
  • Family
  • Justice/Injustice
  • Knowledge
  • Lost
  • War
  • Wisdom

There are so many more themes out there, way too many to count. Some are common, some uncommon. There may be themes out there that we have yet to discover.

This month, I’m going to be zooming in on certain themes. I’m going to look at:

I can’t wait to take a closer look at these themes.

Themes are so important and I think these ones are some of the best.

What are some of your favorite literary themes? What themes do you typically read or write about? Let me know in the comments below!

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