November 21, 2010
You should surround your readers with mountains and take them on an adventure. Every now and then, however, you need to take them home.
If you’re teaching them something new and pushing them pretty hard, every once in a while you need to ease up a little. You need to circle back so that they feel their accomplishment. They’ve learned something new, let them flex those new muscles and conquer the monsters they are now able to easily deal with before you ratchet up the challenge again and throw new bigger monsters at them.
Remember that they are a hero on an adventure. When the come back home, their home should feel different—not because the home has changed but because the hero has.
It’s like going back to see the playground where you played as a kid. That slide that you remember as being so high off the ground is now barely taller than you are. The slide hasn’t changed. You have. You can distinctly remember climbing step after step to get to the top, waiting for the kid ahead of you to clear the bottom and then scooting your bottom past the edge enough that gravity took you down smooth and fast. At the bottom all you wanted to do was get on again.
If you’re lucky, when you go back to see that slide from your childhood there will be little kids playing on it. As you look at the slide and feel how much you’ve changed since you were that age you’ll see the future you’s climbing up the steps, waiting for their turn.
You can learn a lot by going home again. Remember, you don’t need to stay there.