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So You Want To / Write an Adventure Story

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An adventure story is basically a story revolving around a small group of characters, who go off on an expedition together. Before you write your adventure story, it is recommended that you read these tips:

Necessary Tropes

Much like going on a Real Life adventure, like a hike, a road trip, or an expedition, you need a game plan, a "road map" of sorts. Fortunately, there are templates to work from, the most famous being The Hero's Journey and its simplified "Story Circle" version created by Dan Harmon. The bare bones of this structure are as follows:
  • The Call to Adventure: The point where your hero (or heroes) are tasked with leaving their comfort zone and they decide whether or not to do so.
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  • Crossing the Threshold: The point where the hero faces his/her first challenges, be it a Threshold Guardian or their own doubts about the adventure they're on. Typically overcoming this challenge leads to physical and spiritual growth.
  • The Prize and the Price: The hero gets what they wanted or needed out of the adventure at this step, but pays a heavy price for it, be it a limb, an eye or his friends' lives.
  • Rebirth and Return: The hero returns to his ordinary life, changed by his/her adventure forever.

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Choices, Choices

  • Genre: There are a huge variety of adventure stories. The genres between different adventure stories can vary from The Western to Fantasy to Science Fiction to Swashbuckler. Let's take what are generally considered to be the two greatest works of George Lucas: Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Indiana Jones is set in the past, and revolves around an archaeologist armed with a gun who explores ancient ruins among other things, and Star Wars is about a knight armed with a lightsaber who's battling an evil empire. They may seem different, but in actuality, they're not. They're both adventure stories. Decide what type of adventure you want your characters to have.

  • Characters: This is important. You need to decide your hero's personality. Is he/she heroic? Lots of adventure stories have heroic main characters, although this is not a necessity, it's up to you what they are like. Your audience should feel something for your character. If you want, you can come up with a background story for your character.

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  • Reasons: Why is your character going on this adventure? Is it for the spirit of exploration, or for fame and fortune? This is important, as a goal for the main character keeps the story going. There are plenty of reasons why he/she might be going on this adventure. Once again, the choice is up to you.

  • The Adventure: What kind of danger will your hero run into on this adventure? Sketch out your bad guys, and work on action sequences. Decide how the adventure will end, if it will have a happy ending, a sad ending, or a bittersweet ending.

Potential Subversions

  • What if your characters don't even have to leave home at all to have a life-changing experience? Perhaps instead of being made to venture out into a wild and wacky world, a Blithe Spirit comes to their mundane world of order and peace to shake things up?

Above all, have fun!

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