Catalysts in Action & Adventure Fiction
If you're writing an adventure story, you've probably noticed that it is typically dark and expectant. Readers rarely know whether the protagonist will survive until the very end. Some authors use humor to make their adventures less serious, such as in Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Military adventures are menacing, with the protagonists often in perilous situations and constantly on guard for intruders.
The Inciting Incident
An inciting incident, also called a catalyst moment, is the catalyst for a story. It is a situation or event that upends the protagonist's balance of life. It can also reveal the setting of the story. In action & adventure fiction, the inciting incident doesn't necessarily take place in the same place as the rest of the story. For instance, the inciting incident may take place in the city or a desert.
An inciting incident can be anything from a letter to a harrowing accident. As the story progresses toward the climax, obstacles increase in intensity and the protagonist must overcome them to complete the mission. While inciting incidents are useful for authors, they may not be necessary for every plot. As a rule, they are best used in stories involving protagonists with complex personalities and a history of conflict.
The inciting incident is often an event that occurs in the protagonist's life that triggers a call to adventure. A life-changing event triggers the protagonist to leave the comfortable status quo and pursue a new adventure. For example, a protagonist's husband unexpectedly leaves her with no warning. The protagonist is then forced to go after a career goal that is both personal and professional.
When choosing an inciting incident, the writer should consider the audience's interests. A slow start won't keep the reader reading, so the writer should carefully choose their inciting incident. Otherwise, the conflict won't be as compelling as it could have been. Also, the reader's interest will dwindle if the author drags out the story's background information. This is where the conflict must be introduced to maintain the reader's attention.
Creating an inciting incident for your story is a necessary part of completing your novel. Without it, your story won't be able to reach the end. In other words, it's the first major hurdle. If the story stumbles on this hurdle, it won't make it. When you're developing the conflict in your action & adventure fiction novel, consider the story question and try to answer it.
The Heroic Problem-Solving Character
A Heroic Problem-Solving Character is the primary focus of an action-driven adventure story. This genre of fiction has a wide audience and is popular with readers of all ages. In action-filled stories, a hero must solve a complex problem, use his or her intelligence to overcome a threat, and save the world. The protagonist must be a relatable character and have internal and external conflict. The story's catalyst should start the protagonist's transformation, create a sense of risk, and drive the plot forward.
Oftentimes, we read about people who have survived plane crashes or shipwrecks, but what about the time when the rescue was too late? What would happen if they'd had to survive on a remote island with no means of escape? In such stories, people had to survive on foot or by diving into the ocean, and there was no way to contact rescuers. In other cases, a character was stuck on an island and must navigate the island without any help.
Heroic Problem-Solving Character
If you have ever read an action or adventure novel, you've probably seen a hero who solves problems by using his special skills. In the end, he returns to normal life and earns praise. The hero gains a reputation in his world as a role model who teaches others how to be brave and successful. An antagonist, who plans to defeat the hero, is usually plotting against him and attempting to outwit him. In many action movies, however, the hero wins, and the villain is brought down.