Your Characters’ Goals


Are you struggling to finish your first draft, lost in an aimless middle act or lackluster conclusion? Is your manuscript worrisomely bland, lacking a strong narrative thread to draw readers from Point A to Point B? Writer, it’s time to rev up your story’s narrative engine…

The surest way to drive your plot forward is to arm your characters with goals they’re motivated to achieve. Pit your characters’ goals against one another (or against their internal needs), and you’ll create deliciously engaging conflict that keeps readers turning pages.

But how does one develop goals that effectively serve their characters and story? Is it even necessary to give every character a goal, for that matter? Let’s delve into this topic together, writer.

Story goals as a catalyst for conflict…

A story’s narrative engine is the force that gives its plot momentum, moving the characters through each act with clarity and direction. This force is also known as a story’s central conflict, the question that keeps readers engaged from beginning to end.

  • Will Frodo destroy the One Ring, saving Middle Earth from certain doom?

  • Will Poirot discover who killed Rachett on the Orient Express?

  • Will Noah and Ally ever find their happily-ever-after?

In genre fiction, the primary characters’ story goals serve as the catalyst that sparks this integral narrative engine. With strong story goals in place, conflict doesn’t just happen to your characters; your characters play an active role in creating (and resolving) it. In essence: See More . . .


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