How to Write an Underdog Story Readers Will Cheer For

Everybody enjoys a good underdog story. In some methods, we can all relate to the downtrodden character who increases against insurmountable chances. And the requisite feel-good ending is as gratifying and sweet as a warm cup of cocoa at the end of a cold and bitter day.

The underdog plot is a foolproof dish for a story readers can care about, purchase, and cheer on towards a satisfying conclusion. Plus, it can be a great deal of enjoyable to write. Continue reading to read more about how to craft an underdog story that will sound your readers delighted bell.

The Universal Appeal of the Underdog Story

A well-written underdog story awakens the readers compassion like no other. It embodies the hope that lives in each of us.

At its heart, the underdog story is a rivalry, with a minimum of one character competing versus the lead character for a high-stakes object of desire. However the underdog plot takes it an action further by requiring the hero to deal with frustrating chances.

Heres a list of underdog story examples:

David and Goliath
The Martian
Independence Day
The Hunger Games
Cinderella Man
The Fugitive
The Karate Kid
Oliver Twist
Slumdog Millionaire
The Pursuit of Happyness

Aspects of the Underdog story

In order to establish your underdog story to attain the best impact and success with readers, you need to make sure the required elements are in location. Readers remain in for an emotional experience and you want to prepare them and provide the very best ride your story can provide.

Heres how:

1. Develop a character readers can root for

What it comes down to is making your character likable and in some method oppressed. Readers rally around a character suffering unjust misfortune.

Constantly an important step, but crucial to the underdog plot. Readers must care about and feel some kinship with your lead character. In my article How to Write Action Scenes That Thrill Your Readers, I covered some reliable strategies for accomplishing this.

2. Represent the disempowerment

This is the very first phase and should come early on, typically after a quick stage of showing your lead characters life prior to disaster strikes.

Show how your protagonist is being stripped of everything theyve worked for. Show how situations have turned versus them, requiring them to their knees.

3. Program the underlying strength

Your character has the will to withstand the opposition. Tantalize your readers and make them ravenous for a reversal of fortunes.

Although your hero is being beaten down, persecuted, maybe even to the edge of damage, you must show a hidden core of strength and determination. It may be simply an ash at this moment, however it burns underneath the surface.

4. Design a series of difficulties and try/fail cycles

This is a great place to use the Rule of Three to please readers.

Things will get worse before they get much better. Your protagonist will attempt and stop working, or perhaps be successful with unexpected repercussions that take them from the fry pan into the fire.

5. Present the turning point

Heres the turnaround readers have been awaiting. Its scrumptious and sustaining, but readers will sense your hero is not home totally free. And theyre right.

This is a good opportunity to turn a former weakness into a strength or to expose a vulnerability in the antagonist, assisting to even the playing field and make your heros supreme win believable.

6. Inflict the darkest moment

Youve shown your readers the light at the end of the tunnel. This is when you snuff it out.

You dislike to do this to your valiant character and to your faithful reader. One thing that assists is clinging to the conviction that the victory will feel exponentially more satisfying by contrast.

7. Produce the accomplishment

Oh yeah, child! Youve kept your audience in mind every action of the method, in touch with your readers emotions, and now everyones ready to take pleasure in the payoff.

Make sure to indulge your readers yearning for vindication. Let your reader love every minute of it.

Underdog Example: The Shawshank Redemption

Huge spoiler alert: see the film first. Its great!

To highlight the aspects of the underdog story, lets explore the dazzling movie The Shawshank Redemption, based upon a story by Stephen King.

1. Create a character readers can root for

We see the proof compare to Andy in the courtroom and he gets precious little sympathy, grace, or help. He goes to prison to serve out 2 life sentences, back to back.

Andy Dufresne is a wise man whos striven as the vice-president of a bank to offer a good life for himself and his family. What does he get in return? His other half marches on him with the local nation club golf pro and the 2 of them wind up killed.

2. Represent the disempowerment

Without doubt, Andy is being thrust down hard and if he is ever to rise again, it will be from a well-defined underdog position.

We fulfill the villain, the prison warden, and witness Andys descent into humiliation, pain, misery, and solitude. He is ridiculed, roughed up, and consistently raped. He is– literally and figuratively– in an extremely dark location.

3. Program the hidden strength

Andy doesnt bow down or screech, and when he discovers a way to work things to his benefit, he shares the windfall with his fellow detainees.

Regardless of the lots of privations he suffers, Andy reveals an underlying toughness and durability. Red, who operates as the prison procurer of goods, bets Andy will be the first to crack under the pressure, however Andy shows him wrong and the 2 become buddies.

4. Style a series of obstacles and try/fail cycles

We view Andy battle through conflicts with other inmates, guards, the jail warden, and even the state jail system. We see the fluctuate of his dreams and hopes and admire the method he manages to bring some genuine minutes of appeal and light into the dark boundaries of the prison.

We see his situation appear to get much better as he sets himself up as the resident tax advisor and enjoys the benefits. Nevertheless, the wardens corruption results in Andys deeper jail time. Not only is he behind bars, and now he is required to participate in laundering a river of dirty money for the warden. He is essentially a slave for a wicked guy.

5. Present the turning point

The genuine turning point, nevertheless, comes when we understand Tommy holds a piece of evidence that might show Andys innocence and spring him out of jail.

Theres a new kid on the cell block, a good-natured repeat offender called Tommy. Hes a breath of fresh air to the oppressed detainees and a boost to Andys spirits as he tutors the young guy to a GED and a chance at a future outside the prison walls.

6. Cause the darkest moment

Just as it appears things might be searching for, the warden has actually Tommy killed, smothering any hope that Andy may be able to appeal his sentence and escape enslavement as financial supervisor for the decadent and manipulative jail manager.

Andy is well and really squeezed under the wardens wicked thumb. When Andy is thrown into solitary confinement for months on end, the darkness of the moment is underscored.

7. Produce the accomplishment

The Shawshank Redemption is among the most satisfying underdog movies of all time and is complete of beautiful and poignant moments. It does a great job of embodying all the emotions you want a reader (or viewer) to feel throughout the story.

At this lowest minute, when all indications point to Andys destruction, he literally vanishes from prison. Gone! In a minute of supreme and tasty success, we understand Andy has actually escaped. However it gets back at much better.

Perhaps sweetest of all is the reunion he sets up with Red, his jail pal who would never ever have made it outside the jail walls if not for Andys friendship and intervention.

Not only has he bolted and made fools of the warden and his minions, but hes handled to take a big piece of their ill-gotten gains with him and forward strong evidence of their misdeed to journalism, leading to their takedown.

The Underdogs Vicarious Thrill

Theres something irresistibly appealing about an underdog story. We all want to think that we can succeed in the face of overwhelming chances. Provide your readers that vicarious excitement by taking your underdog protagonist to the most affordable of the lows so they can combat their method back to triumph.

Whats your favorite underdog book or film? Inform us about it in the remarks.


There are a lot of moving parts in an underdog story. You may begin by showing their life before occasions started tearing them down and then write about the down spiral that forces them into the underdog position.

Develop your own idea or use among these prompts:

Kyra joins the swim team with goals to end up being a state champ. Somebody is spreading out malicious reports that spell difficulty.
Declans work as a chemist wins him a rewarding position in an appealing new start-up, however not everyone enjoys about that.
Tanya enjoys her profession as an effective horse breeder. Till an important horse is stolen from a surrounding steady and she is a suspect.

Write for fifteen minutes. Post your work in the comments and be sure to offer feedback for your fellow writers when you are finished!

Joslyn Chase

Everybody loves a great underdog story. The underdog plot is a foolproof recipe for a story readers can care about, invest in, and cheer on towards a satisfying conclusion. Check out on to find out more about how to craft an underdog story that will sound your readers happy bell.

A well-written underdog story rouses the readers compassion like no other. Give your readers that vicarious adventure by taking your underdog protagonist to the least expensive of the lows so they can fight their way back to accomplishment.

Any day where she can send out readers to the edge of their seats, prickling with suspense and chewing their fingernails to the nub, is a good day for Joslyn. Choose up her newest thriller,
Steadmans Blind, an explosive read that will keep you turning pages to the end.
No Rest: 14 Tales of Chilling Suspense, Joslyns latest collection of short suspense, is readily available totally free at

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