Adventures in NaNoWriMo

Recommitment to the Quest NaNoWriMo day 14

The midpoint is the moment to recommit

why you need a recommitment scene-www.themanuscriptshredder.comRecommitment happens at the mid-point of your book. Here, you need a scene where the main character decides he must continue on his journey. Although, the hero may have found a way to a semi-comfortable existence, eventually forces reemerge to push the hero forward.

Katniss forced out of the cave by the Gamemakers.
Lego Batman begins a quazi-relationship with Robin, but the Joker reemerges.

When the antagonistic forces reemerge, the hero must recommit to the quest. Don’t let your hero get comfortable in his new life. Force him back into the action. Now is the time to recommit.

Reasons the character may need to continue his quest.

There are only two possible reasons the character will continue on his quest. Either he is forced to go (external motivation), or he chooses to go (internal motivation.)

External motivationsRecommitment

The villain isn’t defeated

This one is the easiest. The villain can easily get a bigger, better weapon or show up and kidnap someone your character loves. There are plenty of ways a villain can ruin your hero’s day.

Mentor forces him to continue

In this scenario, a wise figure will remind the character what will happen if he does not continue his quest. This could be Galadriel showing Frodo some horror footage in a magic mirror, or it could be a coach giving an inspiring pep talk. As long as the hero respects the authority figure, then he will be motivated by the interaction.

Internal motivation

Hero’s accommodation to his lie creates too much tension

This one may seem more difficult to handle, but it is really straightforward. In the Lego Batman movie, Batman finds his lie on a “slippery slope.” Once he lets Robin in, he finds it more difficult to keep the rest of the world out. As new people invade his space, his lie can no longer tolerate these accommodations. As a result, Batman starts to embrace his new “family” and agrees to allow them to join the team. He recommits to fighting the Joker, but this time he won’t face him alone.

The recommitment is the moment your character decides to go on the offensive.

Yesterday your character got to take a break from the troubles of the world, but today those troubles push their way back in. Now is the time for your character to make his choice. Either he will save the world, or he will we let it burn. Either way, its time to commit.

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M.L. Keller is a freelance writer and editor. Her blog "The Manuscript Shredder" is focused on helping emerging writers hone their craft.


  • Victoria Marie Lees

    You’ve got some great info and tips here. I’m thinking for my memoir about attending college as a mother of five, the midpoint–and need to recommit–would come after I finish at the community college level and feel comfortable at that level and must commit to finishing my undergrad degree with the scholarship offered at the Ivy League level. Does she decide to attend an easier college or university or attempt the Ivy League? As a note, I do NOT believe any four-year college is easier than another.

    I’ve shared your post online. Thanks again for sharing these tips with your followers.

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