The Process: Pre-Stuff – Understanding Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

There are a lot of details to learn before you sit down to write a story. One of the most important areas you need to focus on┬ádeals with understanding Goal, Motivation and Conflict. If a character doesn’t have a goal to reach in a certain time span, doesn’t feel strongly motivated about obtaining the goal, or doesn’t face obstacles along the way to reaching that goal, then there is NO story.

Nobody wants to waste time reading a story where the characters are just existing day-to-day with no real plan, no something they must have or someplace they must get to. They are simply there doing stuff to fill a certain page count. Boring.

A reader also will become bored with reading a story where the character’s goal could have easily been reached. Likewise a reader will not enjoy a lazy writer who uses weak motivation for the characters to reach their goals, like coincidence or a misunderstanding that can be talked out.

All main characters in a story must have a definite long-term goal, must be strongly motivated to obtain the goal, and face numerous obstacles trying to reach the goal. Villains also need these things. And to make the story most enjoyable for the reader, make the characters have opposing goals.

As always, I have added an article on Understanding Goal Motivation and Conflict to the Writing Tools on my website and to the Writing Tips on this blog.

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