by +DiAnnMills @DiAnnMills
I’ve always wanted to rock climb. When I studied the skill, I realized rock climbing and scaling heights with my hero had a lot in common.
Both require a struggle against odds, guts, stamina, techniques, and training.
So I compared the two arts, and this is what I discovered.
Training: Your hero is constantly in training. How else can he change and grow into a better person? But don’t have him climb any higher than he needs to. He also doesn’t climb to the top the first time out. Every skill is done in steps. Through each scene, he becomes wiser and moves ahead so that by the time he reaches the climax (peak), he’s ready for the task.
Remember your hero is human (unless you’re writing fantasy or sci-fi). In rock climbing, the person is either bouldering, which means he’s experienced and doesn’t use a harness, or he’s belaying, which means he uses a harness. Whatever the skill level of your character, give him the training to complete the task.
Learn from an experienced climber: Your hero learns from experience, wisdom, and other people. Show his motivation from who and what has influenced his life’s decisions. Delve into his backstory and make him focused and determined to reach his goal or solve his problem. Don’t have him be too proud to ask for help, unless that is his weakness. Rock climbers want to pick the minds of those who’ve gone before them.
Invest in the right equipment: Your hero needs tools to equip him up the climb. If he doesn’t find a way to attain them, his struggle up the mountain won’t happen. He’ll fail. A climber makes sure he has climbing shoes (motivation), a rope (to bind courage with skills), a helmet to protect his head (good stuff in and bad stuff out), and chalk to mark his progress (to chart where he is on the climb to achieve his goal).
Prepare for the fall: A hero plans ahead. He has to look the part. That means he wears the clothes, thinks like a hero, and acts like a hero. He anticipates what could go wrong in the worst scenario and prepares and practices the possibilities. Challenges speed up his adrenaline, and he has a backpack with exactly what he needs to cushion or prevent the fall. A climber aims his fall away from rocks that can injure him.
Take time to rest: Your hero uses his wits and his body. Taking a break to rest, stretch, and evaluate his progress are good habits for heroes and rock climbers to strive for excellence and reach the top.
Rock climbers and heroes. Both have accepted the task of completing what others claim is impossible. What about your hero or heroine? Can you rock your character’s world?