how to write an adventure novel

How to Write an Adventure Novel

When it comes to write an adventure novel, the world is your oyster – primarily for two reasons. The first one being the startling amount of types of adventure your creative juices can quench. From periodic plots with oodles of drama (Read: Game of Thrones) to gripping fantasy novels with cover-to-cover excitement such as Harry Potter, there is an ocean of concepts you can get inspiration from. Find the right theme for your book to back up your storyline. The second reason being the simple fact that there is an adventure in every aspect of life, which, if weaved into a beautiful story, has the complete potential of becoming a mind-boggling international bestseller. All you need to do is find the perfect concoction of imagination and reality to create the quintessential adventure novel which will blow your readers’ minds.  

There are many things that can go wrong with an adventure novel. Bland writing, faulty plots and mundane characters are the most common reasons for readers to get distracted, due to the lack of excitement resonating back from the pages. To keep things interesting and deliver a good dose of popcorn literature, there are a few thumb rules of writing an adventure novel which every author must know. Few of them are discussed below:

Bring your puppets to life

The ultimate aim of a puppet-master (or an author, in your case) is to weave life into their puppets. It is important for an adventure novelist to create characters which are relatable and reflect the readers’ thoughts back into them. Your readers should be able to visualise themselves as the main protagonist and contemplate your character’s next move like it’s going to be their own.

Your plot is your hero

Surprisingly, it is not all about the characters you portray. When it comes to writing an adventure novel, your storyline plays a key role in producing that nail-biting suspense you are aiming to depict. Writing a story with twists and turns in every couple of chapters keeps the readers gripped, leaving them wanting for more. Read our effective guide on how to do research for a novel to come up with the ultimate plot. Suspense is the driving force of every adventure novel so make sure you outline your plot well.

Do not get stereotyped

Keep the clichés at bay. There is a reason why they are called clichés in the first place. It is because they are fixed in the mindset of the audience. If your story builds up as any other story would, your book will easily get type-casted as a boring book irrespective of how much drama and adventure it oozes. So, forget all about the damsel-in-distress plotline and focus on something fresh and unique which has not been read before.

Write artistically

Your style of writing is the platform on which you will be presenting your story to your readers. Keep the drama levels high and describe every action by giving utmost importance to detail. For example, you can write “He sat on his seat, wondering what he did wrong”. But to make your readers empathise with your character, you can write “He walked up to his seat with a heavy heart and sat down. He could feel a lump in his throat as he wondered if he could have mended things in a better way”.

Incorporating humour in your style of writing is also a great way to connect with readers. It makes the characters more relatable and keeps the readers hooked on to your book.

It is all in the climax

So you’ve got a solid storyline and charismatic personalities to play key roles. But, what next? The herculean task of writing the ultimate adventure novel lies in the climax. A climax is not the perfect ending of a story. It is the conclusion – the consequence of all that has happened in your story, blended with the perfect proportions of practicality and what your readers are expecting. Keep them at the edge of their seats and give them the jitters with a phenomenal ending which will leave them spellbound.

Check and recheck

Make sure you read your work to check the flow of your writing. Maintain the same style throughout and space out the dramatic parts and twists evenly to sustain the suspense. It is a good idea to share your draft with a friend or colleague to get a third person’s opinion. Or maybe work with an editor to get some professional advice in turning your first draft into a complete manuscript. Be open to criticism and consider their reviews as inputs from potential readers to make your novel better.

Make it look pretty

Ultimately, the physical aspect of your book also plays a pivotal role in being picked up from the bookshelf. Make sure your book cover speaks oodles about your book by checking out our top ten design resources for authors. Get a good designer to showcase your book well or approach top self-publishing houses, such as Notion Press. They provide you with world-class publishing services, from editing and design to marketing and distribution, to make sure your book is nothing less than a masterpiece.

Top adventure novels to get inspiration from:

Getting inspiration from published work gives you some insight into the perfect formula of creating a well-received adventure novel. Whether you are opting for horror, fantasy, thrillers or periodic adventures, getting inspiration always helps. There are many classics you must read to get those creative juices flowing. Here are a few celebrated novels which are best sellers, setting the standards high when it comes to writing fiction.

The Indiana Jones Series

The Indiana Jones Series, created by George Lucas, is the epitome of all adventure novels. It is the perfect combination of action, drama, romance and oodles of adventure. The story revolves around a witty archaeologist, as the main protagonist, in search of valued artefacts, to protect them from the bad guys. The adventurous way in which Indiana Jones fights against all obstacles to ultimately rise victorious in this spine-thrilling game of treasure hunt keeps you gripped from cover to cover.  

Silence of the Lambs

Throw in a pool of intelligent FBI agents and a mind-blowing serial killer blended with a killer of a plotline, touching the controversial subject of cannibalism, and Voila! You’ve got yourself a blockbuster. Silence of the Lambs is a classic which is guaranteed to leave you speechless by the end of the book. The beautiful way the author, Thomas Harris, has brought out the psychotic mindset of its main character is a work of art. This brilliant book is a must-read to bring out the adventure novelist in you.

Gone Girl

Gone Girl is the recent work of the world-renowned author, Gillian Flynn. The beauty of the book lies in its simplicity. It is a story which can happen to anyone. The characters are extremely relatable, and the plot is based in recent times, which helps in keeping the readers intrigued. The plot is about a married couple living the perfect urban life till the husband is accused of extreme domestic abuse. The story unfolds with crazy twists and turns keeping the readers engrossed right from the first page. This novel is the perfect example of how a brilliant plot and authentic characters can create the ultimate novel.

The Shining

If you are an aspiring author, then this should not be the first time you are coming across this magnificent masterpiece. The Shining by Stephen King is a thriller horror novel that is guaranteed to give you goose bumps. It keeps you gripped with each and every word and haunts you weeks after reading. The story revolves around a married couple, and their 5-year-old son, who moves into an abandoned hotel, as the husband is appointed the next winter caretaker. The series of events that take place next sends chills down your spine as you half-heartedly turn the pages just to be further thrilled and afraid at the same time.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is a light and breezy adventure novel which talks about the life of a mischievous adolescent boy, Huck. It is a popular novel adapted from the world-renowned series – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The clever depiction of characters and the natural way the story unfolds sets these books apart from the rest. These classic adventure novels are ideal to inspire the young writer in you.  

The Lord of the Rings

What happens when you concentrate more on the imaginative aspect of your story? You get a fantasy novel. Fantasy novels have the power of transporting you into an entirely different dimension, and Lord of the Rings does just that. It is an epic series of novels that portray the fight between fantasy reigns for a ring with magical powers. These books are a must-read to observe how celebrated author J.R.R. Tolkien used his literary skills and unbeatable imagination and creativity to come up with a remarkable bestseller.

Writing an adventure novel is an adventure on its own. Hope you are inspired enough to let your creativity take over as you publish your work for the world to read. Make sure you approach reputed self-publishers, such as Notion Press, to give your book the platform it needs to reach your audience.  


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Aishwarya Mukundarajan

Aishwarya is an MBA graduate from Symbiosis International University, Pune. When asked what her hobbies are she points to an overflowing bookcase.

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