One basic element that keeps your audience glued to your story is a hero and a journey. We all love Lord of the Rings, why? Because it was a story about the quest of our hero, Frodo and his companions. It features action, life-threatening situations, thrilling twists and turns that keep you at the edge of your seat.
Simply put, the genre of adventure in writing excites your audience and as old as it is, writers still employ it. And the outcome is always beautiful. We can talk of Moby Dick, Gulliver’s Travel, Harry Potter, The Odyssey and many more.
Our focus, today, will be on knowing and understanding the basic elements of the Adventure in storytelling and its role in producing epic tales. So sit back, relax and let’s go on a cruise.
Critic Don D’Ammassa in “Introduction to the Encyclopedia of Adventure Fiction”, defines the genre as an event or series of events that happen outside the course of the protagonist’s ordinary life, usually accompanied by danger, often by physical action. Adventure stories almost always move quickly, and the pace of the plot is at least as important as characterization, setting and other elements of creative work.
From Mr D’Ammassa’s definition, there are four elements of adventure stories we can glean:
- Heroic characters (protagonist)
- Ordinary to unordinary
- Fast-paced Narrative
Every adventure story features a hero, be it a male or female. Such heroes have certain qualities that help them survive dangers along their journey. But like any other character in stories, heroes have their flaws. Flaws make heroes more relatable because perfect characters are boring and too superficial. Again, it is these flaws that move the story forward. Most of the time, these characters do not begin as heroes but the situation they are shoved in turns them into that. A good example is ‘Frodo’ in “Lord of the Rings”.
The setting is a very key element in any story at all, more so in a fiction and even more relevant in an adventure story. That’s why it’s called ‘ a journey from the expected to the unexpected’, in this case, from the ordinary to the unordinary. Basically, the protagonist’s mission or quest leads him or her out of the very world they have grown in into a world they know nothing of. And there, they have to survive based on what they know and adapt along the line. In Gulliver’s Travel, Gulliver’s life was normal until he decided to embark on that voyage.
This genre called ‘adventure’ is famous for its action and dangers that the hero gets bridled with. Such ‘action’, always orchestrated by a hater of the hero (antagonist) is purported to either curtail the hero’s journey or end their lives outrightly. The hero may never know what peace feels like until they have finished the task given. In Harry Potter, it is so evident. His stay at Hogwarts is filled with so much action and perils. Voldemort even attacks him in school.
Adventure stories are fast-paced. There is no time to describe people or what they are wearing and the weather. The focus is mostly on the characters and their actions because they propel the story. It places emphasis on sensory details such as the scent of a place, the size of a building or statue, but it never employs too many verbs or adjectives. Simply put, adventure stories never mince words.
So those, basically, are the main elements of an adventure story. Like a puzzle, every one of them is needed to form an amazingly creative work. And when they are fit together beautifully, it makes audiences wonder how a human can write such an enchanting story.
You don’t have to take my word for it, JUST TRY IT and thank me later.