World is changing

by James Connor
(Blakeslee, PA, USA)

Question: I have a novel in which the world is changing in inexplicable ways and the protagonist goal is to protect his family and friends from the dangers of the change. What plot type does this fall under?

Answer: Well, if the story is like a disaster or survival plot, with no fantasy elements, in which the external situation is the antagonist and coping involves a lot of action, then I would classify the story under the Adventure genre.

However, you say the world is changing in inexplicable ways, which suggests the possibility of a psychological or fantasy component. Depending how that is developed, the story could fall under a different genre.

For instance, if you're aim is to create fear in the reader, stemming from a supernatural evil force which the characters manage to survive but not conquer, then you may have a Horror.

If the story is more about the character trying to figure out what is real and what may be their own delusion, then you might have more of a Psychological Suspense.

Finally, some magical realism stories ( a subgenre of Fantasy) use a strange and fantastical event as the catalyst that forces people to reassess or change their lives.

Hope that helps.

Comments for World is changing

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by: Anonymous

Thanks. That helps, but there is one further question. In the story, people experience that tech is going crazy, no longer operating. This is a precursor to magic all too rapidly poking itself into the lives of New Yorkers. The opening scene is: people sitting at a Broadway pizza parlor, when they see a man being chased down the street by a fire breathing dragon. They shrug, get on Twitter for a moment, then go back to their pizza. Can the change itself be an antagonist?

re: change as antagonist
by: Glen

Ask yourself what the story goal and the consequence are in your story. The antagonist is the entity that stands in the way of the goal.

For instance, you could have a story where the goal is for people to find more meaningful lives, which may be symbolized by replacing technology with magic. In that case the magic could be the work of a protagonist who is trying to wake people up.

On the other hand, if the magic is more of a threat, and the goal is to preserve the good, modern life in New York, then the entity behind the magic may be the antagonist.

Or, in the case of magical realism, the magic may be symbolic of something going wrong in relationships or in the main character's psychology that needs to be addressed. For instance, perhaps he has a dragon of a parent who is the real antagonist.

The same event can mean different things in different types of stories.

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