How to NOT write an adventure story with characters wandering around aimlessly???

Seriously, how does one do it?

I have a funny feeling that if I write such a thing, the character are going to just roam around looking confused and it will not look pretty…


Did you ever see the LoTR movies? They did nothing but wander aimlessly, and it made for a darned interesting story. Just make interesting things happen wherever they wander. This is where a good outline comes in… __〆(..)


Makes sense and I totally forgot about LOTR too.

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The dark riders chasing them made the wandering full of tension, which is good. Does your story have someone pursuing your main characters?


Yes, there is someone or some group chasing after the MCs.

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To cut down on that aimless wandering, Tolkien had a map…it didn’t work. Lol

But to keep the aimless part down, I have a direction I’m traveling in things. I’m giving the directions in some form or another, in order to keep the goals in mind.


Is it really aimless wondering or is it story building :thinking:


I consider it a “Key of L” thing.

Reference is to music, the scales go A-G. So any “key” that is beyond G is imaginary, and the comments about such stems from a bunch of people or instruments being stuck between a proper scale, out of tune.

Anyway, it took us 2 days to get to Disney from Louisiana. It’s about 695 miles. Average speed of walking is 3-4 miles an hour, reasonable to go 8-10 hours in a day, so a band of walking travelers who take that means it could take anywhere from a month to 18 days to walk that.

If your main opening is home, and your climax is Disney and you do 6 events between the two, it may feel like wandering, but it’s a single event per 3-5 days. So, what’s really going on is that it really reads like a wandering story if you have 20 different events before you go to a place, but it’s actually more technically accurate writing (and likely boring).

So if we are feeling that this is “wandering”, in reality, so much irrelevant time is cut out a story to maintain relevance and build excitement.


Yeah, what Akje said.

The fellowship did wander far, and though they were aiming for Mordor, it was the “In Secret” that was the reason they took such dangerous paths (Caradras, Moria, even Lothlorien could have been bad for Gimli).

If you character/s need to get somewhere, their journey should include well crafted lands and features, but a good reason for going there also. This does not need danger at every turn, as you can craft some great world building as you go. But don’t forget that whatever danger does befall your company, it too should have good reason for happening also.



Makes sense.

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And world building…

Meeting new peoples, visiting new villages, seeing a world which breathes from the pages is equally as important as the danger/epic battles/fearsome creatures and such.

Aimlessly wandering allows you to discover more than you can seek out. That is how I came across a “New City”, I aimlessly wandered into a situation with another group of people from a City called Acoss… I never sought it out, it just came as I wrote, and as such a new people and history was born within my world.

Aimless wandering is good when you discover that little bit more, it grows and grows…


  1. Give your characters an end-goal.
  2. Plot your journey into chunks by location, day, event, whatever. If it was eventful and contributes to the plot, keep it in the story. If it’s just a standard day in your world, just have it mentioned in passing, e.g. “the day before, they’d explores xyz.”
  3. Know your world really well. It’ll make it much easier to figure out how to get your characters from point A to point B!! In my experience, characters wander around aimlessly because the writer is stalling and doesnt know what to do with them. If you know your world you’ll find yourself writing with more purpose, which will give your characters more purpose too.

If it’s more character-driven than plot-driven it works. Personally I am a huge fan of character-driven stories and adventures with strong character relationships. For example, Treasure Planet and Atlantis: The Lost Empire are both great movies because of how well-developed their characters are and the interactions are, even when much of the film is just “wandering”. It’s still so entertaining and they make great films and stories.

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Adventure is my favorite thing to make characters do. It gives me the chance to make them interact with the world I created or enjoy (or not) the company of each other. If they are alone, that’s a good chance to show how familiar or not they are with the world and how they react in different situations including meeting new people.

And the things that happen don’t always have to be something physical or magical. There’s a scene in Lone Gold, Daring Purple where Cypur and supporting character Wescherlie are actually just wandering through a wasteland to get to the other side :stuck_out_tongue: But there’s some relationship tension happening between them.

Cypur’s want to be tough and “I can do this myself” clashes with Wescherlie’s genuine want to be his friend. When she feels betrayed, she runs off to leave him. He regrets his words and stops her, but then there are sinkholes. So, up until the sinkholes (physical thing) they are just walking, but a bad relationship thing is brewing.

I usually put in a lot of relationship and internal struggles when characters have to walk around, but in a way that helps the internal part of the plot. If they’re happily going along, I make them see the wonders of the world in a way that either strengthens their relationship or adds things to the plot.

There’s so, so much you can do with adventuring :smile:

If you want to talk more about adventuring, we can chat any time :grin:

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