1. LexStorm

    LexStorm New Member

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    Writing a fantasy adventure story: The middle is the worst....

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by LexStorm, Apr 15, 2019.

    I have a grasp on where my characters need to go, and what they'll do when they get there, however writing the travel portion of the story itself is what's become my biggest block. My two main characters Auron and Luna have to travel across two countries to arrive at a place called Ferma. They need to do so because Auron just acquired a legendary sword (at the expense of their Kingdom getting attacked) and needs to find a master capable of teaching him how to use its true power. Auron's generally selfish and doesn't like to put his trust in others and has to learn to do so. Luna's said Kingdom's princess and is rather strong but also arrogant and needs to learn how to become a leader. There's also going to be a third party member down the line but I have yet to get there because I can't think of anything to write when it comes to how they get to Ferma in the first place.

    I can't help but feel like any challenges I write up for them come off as formulaic. 'They run into a villain they have to fight or run from', 'they have to find their way out of a monster infested cave', etc. I also don't want to skip over the entire travel to Ferma since they're going to be relatively different people from when they started. I have ideas about how Auron and Luna are going to grow as characters along with the relationship between them in their journey, but I don't know how to go about writing it. Anyone got any tips?
     
  2. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    If there's anything here that could set up the final arcs, it could go here. If the bad guys are going to unleash powerful monsters near the end, maybe this is where they're first encountered. If there's powerful magic out there waiting to be used, maybe they pass through an area that was ravaged or reshaped by it in ancient times. If the civil war for the throne will be important, then this is where you can set up rumours that the king is ailing and rumours are rife that he'll change who his heir is.

    You can start setting up the eventual relationship between the leads. If they're going to have a big split or conflict between themselves down the line, it can be set up here that they don't see eye to eye on some issues--and that those things will be bigger deals as the stakes rise. If they're going to fall in love, this could be a spot to set up their growing trust, comfort and attraction.

    The characters could just have a chance to show off. If they've been the underdogs up to this point and barely pulling out ahead, it can be cathartic for them and the reader to just have a challenge that they can steamroll (perhaps to their own surprise). Though the actual danger is low, it can be a good way to advance the arcs of the characters and highlight their flaws.

    You could set up a third party in the conflict--an individual or faction who takes up an antagonistic role to the heroes in this story, but whose role could change in the third story. Say a petty warlord who gets defeated by the heroes and then becomes an uneasy ally of the main villain to get revenge, or a mysterious minion of the main villain who seems to know more than she's letting on, and may turn out to be an undercover ally, or to have her own plans for the legendary sword.
     
  3. Dracon

    Dracon Contributor Contributor

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    There was a Writing Excuses podcast that was on very recently that addresses the very problem you seem to be expressing, which you might find useful. https://writingexcuses.com/2019/03/31/wx-14-13-obstacles-vs-complications/

    Perhaps rather than trying to think of obstacles that only delay your main characters to stall out the final reveal, you need to come up with some complications - points of the story in which the main characters are forced to take a different approach or learn a key piece of information which takes the plot on a different trajectory.
     
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Would you be willing to describe this growth?
     
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  5. LexStorm

    LexStorm New Member

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    The podcast was very insightful. I'm starting to think my problem is I'm obsessing over throwing road blocks at my characters instead of just progressing the story in any means necessary.

    As far as I have planned, Auron is quick to judge people and often takes matters into his own hands. He grows into someone who investigates problems further and is willing to entrust his friends with important tasks. Luna holds a lot of pressure in saving her kingdom and isn't sure how to help her friends and often tries to sacrifice herself for others. She grows to be able to lead her friends down the right path and make better choices for herself as well.
     
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    It sounds like the next part of the story that interests you is in Ferma. Why not have this character growth happen at that point, instead of before you get there?
     
  7. jannert

    jannert Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Perhaps you could get your characters out of the planning stage by writing a few scenes where they are actually interacting. This will develop their personalities more than just cold 'planning.'

    Don't worry too much about how the characters got into the scenes. Just dive in and get actually writing. It could be a journey scene or two, or once they get to Ferma, etc. Just whatever you can see clearly right now.

    I guarantee (well almost!) that after you've written several fully-envisioned scenes, you'll be on your way. But write them as if they were in the final book—not just a who does what, but the whole scene, including setting, a POV character, developed characters, perhaps some clashes between characters, or some other kind of scene motivation, dialogue, etc. By the time you've done this, you'll have a much better idea of what the previous scenes should contain.

    Even if these scenes never make it into your book, they'll be worth their weight in gold. Just write the scenes you can 'see' in your mind's eye most strongly right now. And see what you get.
     
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