Thursday, April 8, 2010

Genre: Adventure

It's Thursday, which means it's time for us to visit another genre.  Today we're going to go on a wonderful journey through the realms of adventure.

Adventure


n. an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity
    ~a daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise or enthusiasm
    ~(archaic) a commercial speculation
v.i. (dated) engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory
v.t. (dated) put (something, especially money or life) at risk

Characteristics

  • tough, resourceful, ordinary hero
  • determined and strong villains who drive the plot forward
  • threat to person, country, world, etc.
  • high stakes
  • fast-paced, non-stop action leading to an adrenaline-packed climax
  • vibrant and exotic settings
  • numerous action scenes
  • limited character development (clearly one I think can be broken if done well)

From Query Tracker (written by Elana Johnson)


Action/Adventure: Often, though not always, aimed at a male audience. Contains elements of physical action, violence, danger (physical, global, etc), hazards, travel to exotic locations (jungles, deserts, tropical islands). Storylines often contain use of weapons, technology, martial arts. Can and often do contain elements of humor. Examples include the James Bond films, Indiana Jones, the Die Hard movies, the Rush Hour movies, the Mummy movies.



Sub-genres

Epic

n. a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation
   ~the genre of such poems
   ~a long film, book, or other work portraying heroic deeds and adventures or covering an extended period of time.
adj. of, relating to, or characteristic of an epic or epics
   ~heroic or grand in scale or character

Characteristics:

  • centered on heroic characters
  • action on a grand scale
  • captures impressive struggles (i.e. war)
  • efforts of great size and scope over long periods

Examples:

  • War and Peace
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • The Wheel of Time

Imaginary voyage

  • utopian or satirical representations framed in a fictional voyage

Lost world

  • discover a new world separate in time or space or both (i.e. Michael Crichton's Congo)

Milesian

Characteristics:

  • travelogue carried by MC
  • sub-narratives carried by secondary characters (usually numerous)
  • erotic and titillating
  • features love and adventure
  • verve and panache characterize the voice
Examples:

  • Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale" from The Canterbury Tales


Picaresque

adj. of or relating to an episodic style of fiction dealing with the adventures of a rough and dishonest but appealing hero.

Characteristics:

  • satirical
  • realistic and humorous details of the MC's life and exploits
  • rogue of a hero surviving on wits alone in what is perceived by MC, reader, or both, as a corrupt world
Examples

  • Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Robinsonade

  • Protagonist suddenly isolated from civilization
  • MC must craft the means of his/her survival from what's available (usually including whatever supplies survived the crashed mode of transportation)
  • little to no hope of rescue
Examples:

  • Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island
  • Robinson Crusoe is the inspiration of the genre


Looking for good adventure reads?







Stay tuned on Monday for my recommendations in this genre.  (Haven't quite gotten through any of the books I picked up for it so we'll see how the weekend goes.)

3 comments:

  1. Very helpful post. My contemporary is somewhat an adventure. Based on these descriptions, I think it could fit in nicely here.

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  2. This is wonderful -- excellent, succinct rundown w/ great examples. Thanks!

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  3. I will have to send your URL to my CP partner. She is writing an adventure novel. I love all the info you provided. Very helpful! :)

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