This is another one of those topics that I wrote down months ago, was sure I’d remember what I meant, and promptly forgot. I can’t even remember what triggered the idea, so here we are with a list. I mean, it is important to reward our heroes for a job well done. They need to achieve something once their adventures are done. As long as they survive unless we’re counting death, limbo, or whatever nightmarish scenario we come up with as a reward. So, what can we do?
- A peaceful life is a viable reward. If the character has been through a lot and you want to give them a positive ending, you can give them a chance to retire. Their adventures are done and they earned a break from all the stress. You can hint at this throughout the story to make sure it doesn’t come as a shock. Maybe they talk once about wanting to own a farm or take up gardening. The point is that they get to rest.
- As stated, you do need to make the reward work. It can’t be a small trinket with no real use after saving the world. So, the adventure and reward have to match in terms of scale. Not so much for the author, but for the character. If that trinket is a precious item that means everything to the hero then it works. If it’s a random piece of junk bought at the market then it doesn’t. This is why it helps to plan the rewards to some extent and alter them if need be.
- If you happen to get a solid fan base and are writing a series then you might run into a small problem. Vocal fans may demand specific rewards along with the relationships because they’ve picked up on clues. Some may be right while others could be jumping to conclusions. An author may be tempted to snag these ideas to appease their loyal fans, but it shouldn’t be done without considering the story impact. Look at what they say and see if it makes sense. It could be better than your original idea or it could make all of what you’re planning pointless.
- Money can always work. Long history of riches being given to heroes as well as noble titles and land. If the character doesn’t want to travel and has no other ideas then this can work. It gives them a place even if they don’t have any more goals.
- Try your best to avoid the finale being the granting of wishes. Not every story has a genie or a king with a bizarrely specific collection of rewards. I’m sure everyone has a ‘wife resurrection’ potion and three pegasus sitting around.
- A reward doesn’t have to be a surprise. It can be something that the character has wanted or seen earlier in the adventure. Having them go for that specific goal or reward helps give them depth. It also means that there will be no question as to what they will earn.
- I guess cursed items can work too. Opens the door to a sequel.