The Quest

I just started reading The Hobbit to my boys at bedtime.

Bilbo’s story was among my favorites when I was their age.

They’ve been a little slow to get into the book though.

The main reason for this is that we just finished up the 18-month ultra-marathon that is the Harry Potter series.

My middle son in particular has resisted the transition—he lobbied hard to go right into reruns of Harry’s saga.

And for the past several nights, he’s informed me:

“I don’t want to read this book.”

His older brother has been equally skeptical, if a bit less vocal.

Until last night, that is.

Last night I was in my office after bedtime, and #2 son walks into the room, clutching The Hobbit.

“Daddy, could you make a copy of this?” he asks.

He’s holding the book open to a particular page.

I looked:

The page was Tolkien’s rendering of Thorin’s map—the map that shows the way to the Lonely Mountain, where the vile dragon Smaug lay slumbering on the dwarves’ stolen treasure.

I smiled.

He’s bought into The Quest.

Any good story has at its heart a quest—a goal that the hero is striving to achieve.

Defeat Voldemort.

Overthrow the Evil Empire.

Destroy the One Ring.

And when your reader buys into The Quest, they become deeply invested in the story.

They hang on every word, because suddenly the outcome MATTERS.

What is the quest in your story?

And do your email subscribers buy into it?