I’ve always wanted to rock climb, and 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?
Writers and Rock climbers. @diannmills What do they have in common? #writertip #writing
About DiAnn Mills
Expect an Adventure
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.
Airport Ranger volunteer Stacy Broussard expected a peaceful Saturday morning ride around the perimeter of Houston’s airport. What she encounters instead is a brutal homicide and a baffling mystery. Next to the body is an injured dog, the dead man’s motorcycle, and a drone armed with a laser capable of taking down a 747.
Though FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc sees a clear-cut case of terrorism, his past has taught him to be suspicious of everyone, even witnesses. Even bleeding-heart veterinarians like Stacy. But when her gruesome discovery is only the first in a string of incidences that throw her life into a tailspin, Alex begins to wonder if Stacy was targeted. As a health emergency endangers Stacy’s community, and the task force pulls in leads from all directions, Alex and Stacy must work together to prevent another deadly encounter.