I'm at the outline stage of my novel writing.

It is pretty straightforward to think of an action-adventure novel's victory as attained by physical attributes and/or courage.

I'm looking for alternative ways of making my hero win - such as by faith, hope and/or love. These themes are usually found in slice-of-life or romance novels.

How can I make these the critical factor in the climax of a physical conflict? Are there examples of novels or movies that have done this?


  • This question isn't really a good fit for a Q&A site, as it's more of a discussion question. Unless you can think of a way to make this more answerable, as per our FAQ, I'm afraid I'm going to have to close this. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Sep 14 '12 at 8:00
  • Return of the Jedi and The Matrix both come to mind... – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Sep 14 '12 at 10:00

To be honest, I find that action/adventure only describes the pace or the general event types in a novel. It shouldn't define your theme, which may very well be that you need to have faith in friends/family you love and trust to get you through, no matter the situation.

For example, have your climax with thrilling action scenes, where your hero does everything they can and kicks ass. But then throw in something that's out of their control. This could be at any time - before, during or after the action scenes. Set up the situation so that they need to rely on someone (or many sotmeones). The message actually comes across even more powerfully when a hero who seems able to do everything realises the need for others in order to win.

Yes, you can have victory by strength or courage if you want, but that is a different theme, a different message you want to get across.

A good example of this is the Hunger Games trilogy. They would definitely fall into the action/adventure category. The whole concept is about fighting to the death in a grand arena. But there's so many more themes that Suzanne Collins added in, such as the importance of trusting others and working together against a common enemy - Katniss, her heroine, certainly wouldn't have succeeded without her allies.

Tl;dr - genre and theme are different. Action/adventure is a genre, succeeding by faith and love is a theme. They're not mutually exclusive, but work together to make an awesome story.

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