Unlike the quest that is character driven, the adventure story is all about a journey. The character is action-driven and doesn’t have to grow in any way. The reader vicariously experiences exotic, strange, or dangerous places as the main character (MC) seeks something. As in all stories, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end.
At the beginning of the adventure, the story world is ordinary. Then, a motivating factor comes along that encourages a change. It launches the MC into the middle. On the journey through a new story world, the MC encounters obstacles and conflicts that are almost impossible to overcome. In the end, he arrives at the goal and receives a reward.
Fairy tales are simple adventures. Let’s look at Tom Thumb. In the beginning, Tom is born into an ordinary home. Though he is only the size of a thumb, he finds ways of helping his father. Some men who would exploit him for monetary gain want to buy him. His father refuses the offer. But Tom recognizes an opportunity to see the world. He asks his father to sell him and promises to come home again.
The middle shows Tom during his journeys. Before the men reach the town where Tom will go on display, he escapes [adventure one] and hides in a mouse hole until they give up searching for him. He wakes from a night in a snail shell and overhears robbers that plot to burglarize the parson’s house. He offers to help them [adventure two], but when he is inside the house he raises a ruckus that scares the robbers away. While hiding in a hay pile, a cow eats him [adventure three]. He cries out. Thinking that the cow is possessed, the parson kills it and throws its stomach on a dung heap. A wolf comes along and gulps down the stomach in one piece [adventure four]. Tom directs the animal to a place where he can get all the food he wants.
The journey ends when Tom’s father finds the wolf in his house, kills him, and frees Tom. Tom’s reward is returning safely to his home and receiving his parent’s love.
The adventure is one of the most popular plots. Examples of this story form are: Mort d’Arthur, Around the World in Eighty Days, Robinson Crusoe, Grapes of Wrath, Raiders of the Lost
, and the Left Behind Series.—Quinn Ark