April 29th, 2016


Writing Excuses 11.17: Elemental Adventure Q&A

Writing Excuses 11.17: Elemental Adventure Q&A

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/04/24/11-17-elemental-adventure-qa/

Q&A Summary:
Q: In an adventure story, what is more liked by readers? If protagonists go through many different incidents and locations, or a fewer number of incidents and locations, but that are similar to each other and have a theme?
A: Do them both! It depends. Big globetrotting tale, more cool exotic locations are better. Smaller scale, more focused. Adventure stories need lots of exotic settings, using the element of adventure to enhance may not need that.
Q: What lessons can we take from your favorite adventure games for writing adventure fiction?
A: Multiple levels of terrain and that environment you can interact with are more interesting. Different characters, different strengths; so include different kinds of adventure, chase scenes, fight scenes, talking scenes. Make sure there is something personal at risk for the character.
Q: With all the superhero franchises around, what are some tips on writing adventure stories outside of fight scenes and world ending consequences?
A: Exotic locations don't have to include a fight scene. Great adventures don't even need villains. Use accelerated timebombs – escaping the burning building, getting out of the path of the avalanche, getting to the hospital. Two different people trying to get the same thing in an exotic location makes an adventure!
Q: Are there tropes that have been overdone need to be avoided in regards to adventure fiction?
A: Tropes are ingredients, not inherently bad. What you do with it and the ingredients you combine it with make the difference. If adventure is the only thing a scene is doing, that may be a problem. Advance the plot, reveal stuff about characters, mix in other ingredients. Make your adventure scenes complications that change the story or the characters, not just obstacles in the way.
Q: Do you have any suggestions for non-Western, nontraditional styles of adventure that could provide variety or a fresh take on things for readers?
A: Grab a bunch of books and read them. Consider the kung fu final fight where the bad guy faces a whole group of heroes.
Q: How do you make the journey exciting? Do you have to include all the details to it? If you skip a bunch of it, how do you get across to the reader the character moments that I have taken place during the parts that you skip of the journey?
A: Think about what you're trying to accomplish. Different stories focus more or less on the journey. Skip the boring parts, trust the reader to fill in between the high points. If you can find a way to make the journey not boring, put it in.

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[Brandon] I'm going to have to shut it down here. I'm sorry for all of you that put questions. There were 54 responses and we answered like seven of them, if that many. But we thank you very much for listening. We're going to point you at some homework for next time, for our next elemental genre. So I want you for your homework to make a list of set pieces, really cool places that people could visit. I then want you to go a step further, and I want you to say, "How does my main character entering this place, interacting this place, change who they are?" We don't want you to just go to cool places, we want those cool places to change your story and change your characters in interesting ways. That is what I think will make adventure fiction kind of go up a level for you. Now, as I said, we'll be moving on to horror next week. We want you to brace yourselves for that. Dan's going to make you afraid. But until then, this has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.