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June 27, 2011


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Maureen O. Betita

I think this can be a tricky thing to find, mainly because the goals of our characters often seem a bit of a mystery when it comes to the 'why' of it.

As in the example you gave... I can find goals for my characters and I know they are important to the characters, but I have to really embrace that they have a connection to that goal, even though it may seem a bit absurd to me!

Each character really has their own universe, their own world and when we, the writers, connect with how important that is TO THEM...that's when we get it right.

I guess that is MY goal! And certainly where I find the magic!


For now, my heroine and hero are fighting for the same goal - Justice for her father's death.

My hero though, also wants to clear his father's name and win back the heroine.

My heroine wants to not want anything to do with the hero :)

Donna Cummings

Maureen, I think it can be tricky to find the "why" of it, but when we do, it shows us the motivation. It gives us clues as to why it's so important to the character.

For example, a character wants to lose weight. Why? For health reasons? Or because they want to look better? Or because their mom was a beauty queen? Once we know that, it gives the story a different spin because the character will make different choices. :)

It's something I find useful to think about. And I agree about the magic. :)

Donna Cummings

Sabrina, I think characters can have the same goal, but for different reasons/motivations. They go about achieving this goal in different ways, which can cause conflict, because we all think OUR way is best! LOL

Terri Osburn

This is the part of writing that still gives me hives. Goals and motivations. I'm getting anxious just thinking about it. In fact, in all the praise my lovely beta readers gave me on my first MS, a lack of clear motivation was the one constant comment made by all.


I've no idea how to fix this, but doing filling out detail sheets for my characters helps a little bit. I'm getting tangled up in the new WIP because I don't know the characters enough. I need to get those sheets out.


lol....would you believe that this line...

Owning that dress means she is more than a simple charwoman.

just gave me an idea for a new story...involving neither a dress or a charwoman. =) Great article Terri, and one I'll keep in my Characters file...



Terri Osburn

Did I include an article? LOL! (Not that I mind being confused for Donna. She writes so well, I'll take it.)

Donna Cummings

Terri, this is a tough one. I struggle with it too, and I think it comes with practice. :) It goes hand-in-hand with having enough conflict, and since we want our characters to have fun, it's not easy to give them obstacles.

I think what helps me is trying to figure out what the character doesn't want to admit about why they want the goal. They might have a surface reason they'll tell others, but what is underneath that. Sometimes it helps to look at why WE do certain things, why WE pursue certain goals.

Donna Cummings

Carrie, you rascal -- now I need to know what story idea you got! I'm sure it'll be fun. :) And I like to think the virtual cup of cold coffee I splashed on you in Twitter yesterday also helped. LOL

Donna Cummings

Aw thanks, Terri -- I'm sure Carrie was inspired by your comment, and blended the two of us together. :)

Terri Osburn

Ask what they don't want to admit. I like that. Hmmmm... I need to start asking questions tonight and see what they come back with. And I was right, running herd on four characters is harder than just two.

Donna Cummings

Terri, it's kind of like that saying: "There's the official story, and then there's the truth." LOL So the characters may have an "official" reason for their goal, but the truth is that it means something to them emotionally, to cure a past hurt, things like that.

And yes, it really increases the fun when you have more characters. LOL Some characters' goals are a lot easier to come up with, thankfully. But there's always a pesky one to make up for it!

Kari Marie

I've been really looking at this hard for my villains. I can never seem to craft a good one and I think it's because I don't have a strong understanding of what drives them. It's been very interesting. I'm not there yet, but I'm closer than I was before.

Donna Cummings

Kari Marie, some characters take a little more digging, to find out what drives them. For some reason I have had a fairly easy time with my villains. I'm not sure what that says about me. LOL But it's good that you're closer--that means you'll get there!

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