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Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Eight Point Story Arc - The Quest

Time to continue our discussion on the eight point story arc, using The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as an example.  The eight parts are as follows.

1. Stasis
2. Trigger
3. The quest
4. Surprise
5. Critical choice
6. Climax
7. Reversal
8. Resolution

Here's a reminder of the definition for the quest-

The quest
The trigger results in a quest – an unpleasant trigger (e.g. a protagonist losing his job) might involve a quest to return to the status quo; a pleasant trigger (e.g. finding a treasure map) means a quest to maintain or increase the new pleasant state.

Last time we talked about the trigger, which involved the four children entering Narnia through the wardrobe.  This is the transitionary point where the quest begins, and the quest is one of discovery and adventure.  What follows is part of the plot synopsis from wikipedia. 

Soon after entering Narnia, the children meet Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who invite them to dinner. The beavers recount a prophecy that the witch's power will fall when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve fill the four thrones at Cair Paravel. The beavers tell of the true king of Narnia, a great lion named Aslan, who has been absent for many years but is now "on the move again."

The quest begins to explore Narnia, defeat the White Witch, find Aslan, and fulfill the prophecy.

The quest is the real heart of any story.
Get the girl/guy.
Find the treasure.
Discover the killer.
The list goes on and on, but it's important to remember that the quest is only made interesting by the way your characters (especially the protagonist) are affected by it and how they react to what's going on.

Your idea for a story might be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but even the greatest quest can be turned into a school textbook entry if you don't utilize your characters and make it relatable to your readers.

Any comments about the quest of your own story or something you're currently reading?  Leave them below.  Next time we'll talk about surprise!

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