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Many of us write stories with protagonists who start out as timid persons, only to realize their potential by the of the book. When charting the hero’s journey, we have to describe how they learn to take risks. Given that there’s nothing more intimidating than taking risks in the face of uncertainty, it’s usually easier to play it safe. So how can your hero or heroine learn to seize an opportunity or take a leap of faith when risk-taking feels impossible?

At the surface level, we have to understand the “why.” Have the characters play out the risks before taking them because some are worth it and some may leave them feeling more lost than ever. To achieve smart risk-taking, your characters have to conquer their fears. By completing small tasks, they will put procrastination at bay and gain the confidence to achieve their bigger, more complex goals.

On a micro level, have your characters calculate the risks versus rewards. While risk adversity can be beneficial, it’s possible for ego to take over and overdo it. Have them take a step back, weigh the pros and the cons, and even ask for a second opinion.

Consider these tips from an unlikely source (Rocket Mortgage) to write a convincing character who learns how to take risks and embrace change:

Risk-taking infographic | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book