How to write fiction

How to write fiction in a quest for change

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And she drank from the glass. She looked back but she wasn’t scared of darkness anymore for she was one of them now.

The first plot in 20 master plots by Ronal B. Tobías es the quest plot[1]. Yep, it is a plot where the character goes out and quests for something.

Is Dragon Ball a quest plot? No. The plot quests are among the most popular ones since they represent the deepest and most scarce human experience of them all: change. Then…how is it that Dragon ball isn’t a quest plot? It is so popular, super saiyajins can’t add any more muscles to the muscles they already have and feature rainbow coloured hair of as many transformations. Plus, it is about deep expe…

Well, then let’s try Indiana Jones and the lost ark… Not even close.

Goku will always be Goku and never turn around a good fight. Father of kids, married to Milk, he is still able to ride the flying cloud because he… He remains an innocent! (No, I don’t wish his corruption in any way). He is exactly the same person who started the story. Vegeta[2]… Well Vegeta turns out from a destroyer prince to worrisome father and husband, in a short subplot that doesn’t count at all as controlling idea.

Indiana never stops being (in any given moment), in any of the movies of this character, the bullshit may come character after the riches and greatness of the treasure. He ends up the movie exactly the same as he started it.

This is the ingredient of the quest plot. The inner change, mental change, soul revolution (if you might call it like that).

So to every of the Indiana movies as for the n series of Dragon Ball, the characters are like the golf cart which takes us here to there along traps and petrol explosions or tournaments based in fist fights and genki dames. They’re neither the focal point nor the origin of the conflict.

The character might or might not find what they’re questing for.  They can be successful or fail in their quest. Yet, they aren’t the same person anymore. They go through an inner change.

Thus, a quest plot is a mind plot. A forda. In spite of all brute force to feature the plot. The two examples I’ve mentioned aforehand are forza, physical related plots.

In his book, Tobías mentions Jason and his quest for the golden fleece as an example. Nonetheless, given that my best example of what is NOT a quest plot is a manga title; I should say in the same line. Thus, I’m gonna use a title good enough to compete against a novel in richness (obviously my opinion and as yours is equally important and interesting, I order you to leave it in the comments). I you aim to draw comics, you’ll see what I’m talking about easily. And if everything you know about is the average manga/anime, this is a third kind encounter to wonder about… Me nonsense.

Sekine’s love by Kawachi Haruka

In this manga, the main character is a man with a depression so deeply ingrained into him that he can’t even fathom being depressed. His life is so miserable — in spite of his success in societal therms. In the course of a goukon —collective blind date —, the question <<What’s your hobby?>> triggers a quest for an activity in which to immerse into[3] since he doesn’t have one. This takes him to a handcraft dry store. He starts crocheting. Like a maniac. And to each Project he starts, he remembers in disarray scenes of his own life which disturb him to discomfort. He crochets more and more complicated stuff as at the same time, his emotions grow in complexity. In the end, he leaves the go forward without stopping to clarify guy everybody else takes advantage of. The man of before his journey through hooks and yarn balls. He stops being the same.

And if your stuff is movies and novels, Tobías mentions many other examples as: The grapes of wrath, Psycho, Don Quixote and The wizard of Oz. To which you can add: Penelope with Christina Ricci or Howl’s moving castle by Diana Wynne Jones/Ghibli[4]. Grey and wonder around her just in case you feel like more manga.

Summarising, the quest plot throws the main character into a quest for an object or person; taking us to a wonderful journey (either physical or imaginary) to get it. The character changes in the endeavour of getting (maybe not getting) what he is questing for. I mean, he learns out of the world and themselves.

What’s your favourite quest plot?

[1] Robert McKee mentions it too but either I haven’t read that part or I have already and forgotten since Mieke has my whole attention.

[2] Confession 101… Maybe 1001. I’ve never really watched or read Dragon ball. Even with the re airing of the anime in free Mexican tube, it has never caught my attention beyond glimpses. Is there any Dragon ball expert? Tell me in the comments if Goku really does change something, please.

[3] Robert McKee calls this kind of scene “the trigger” while others call it to settle the conflict.

[4] Both the movie and book make use of the resource of the quest plot.

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