You have to keep your characters busy if you want to write a novel. You have to give them a crisis, a reason to overcome it, and a way out.
Characters must have physical story goals.
For the purpose of plotting, you should not choose an abstract goal. Characters always have abstract story goals. We are always on journeys of self-discovery where we worry about our feelings. This is a given, but never let these become more important than physical goals with deadlines. If you do choose an abstract story goal, your character will spend too much time alone, thinking, and boring your readers.
Your story at its most basic
Before you start writing, complete this: My novel is a story about ______________________ (protagonist’s name) who wants to ____________________________________ (ultimate physical story goal).
Remember that love is not a plot – it is an emotion
To recap from a previous post on story goals, wanting to find ‘love’ or ‘acceptance’ or ‘justice’ is not enough. When your character is loved, accepted or vindicated after achieving a physical goal, you have a story.
To define a physical story goal a character needs:
- to get something physical
- to cause something physical
- to escape something physical
- to resolve something physical
- to survive something physical
How do you know if your story goal is good enough to support your story?
Watch out for next Friday's post, which includes 5 Criteria For Creating Successful Story Goals
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by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and on Twitter: @amandaonwriting
© Amanda Patterson
If you enjoyed this post, read:
5 Criteria For Creating Successful Story Goals
Proust's Questionnaire - 35 Questions Every Character Should Answer
- 13 Ways To Start A Story
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