A few weeks ago, our family traveled to Rhode Island for our son's wedding. We embraced the addition of a new daughter to our family, but the changes to our routine? Not so much. We spent six days away from home. Even though it's fun to explore other places, we missed the familiar comforts of home.
Protagonists Must Face ChangeA novel's protagonist has to face change, too. Sometimes they embrace it, but a good author creates conflict and tension by placing characters in a change they do not welcome. If the characters do welcome the change, the story still needs conflict, so the change must turn out differently than anticipated.
Think about Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Frustrated by the actions of her school teacher, she sings about a far away world she wishes to visit. In her dreams, it's a wonderful place. When the tornado pulls her from her aunt and uncle's farm in Kansas and drops her in a very different world, she discovers there's no place like home. With conviction, she strives, and overcomes many fears, to find a way home.
While our trip to Rhode Island had a definite beginning and end, the characters in a story might face permanent changes. The author creates an environment different from the familiar. What should the characters miss? What should make them uncomfortable?