Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Goals for Characters

 Characters do come alive and they become people to a writer and to the reader. The tags give them interest but there comes a time when the character must stop being created and enter a story. So what do you do? Give them a goal.

Goal is what the character wants to achieve. Goal is a place they want to go, an object, a person, anything the character might want. How does one determine what the characters goals might be?  Joe wants Mary. Why? Arthur whats to know who killed Amy? These are goals and there are many goals the character you've been bringing to life may want or need. Determining the why of the what is the next step the writer must take.

What does the character lack in his life? Is the lack generic or specific? The lack is an inadequacy. A lack eats away at his or her ability to control. A lack makes him want to do something to gain his goal. Joe wants love. Then he decides Mary is the one who will give him what he desires. Why did he choose her when he could have picked Lucy or Joan? The reason behind this is that Mary offers him some compensation that makes the goal possible.

To gain the compensation and to reach the goal the character must act. The action is the direction he or she takes to reach the goal. This suddenly brings the character to life for he discovers what is lacking, decides on the compensation an takes action driving toward the goal. Suddenly the character is alive and running off the page.


Melissa Keir said...

A goal can also revolve around the conflict (internal or external) as the character grows and changes.

Lisa Wells said...

Great post.