In whatever fictional story you’re writing, you need a protagonist (main character) with a goal. The goal of your protagonist makes your story interesting and engaging for the reader. It makes the reader want to know what happens to your character and wonder if he/she reaches his/her goal. Added to that, you need to have obstacles, something that keeps your protagonist from reaching his/her goal. If there are no obstacles in your story it will fall flat and be boring. That’s the honest truth.
Below follows a few questions you can use as a means to get a clear vision of your protagonist’s goal as well as the obstacles that will stand in his/her way.
- What is your protagonist’s goal? How will you introduce this goal in the beginning of your story?
- What is your protagonist willing to do to achieve his/her goal?
- Why and how is the protagonist’s goal crucial to your story?
- How does the protagonist’s goal reveal the theme of your story?
- Does your protagonist have a deep secret that will interfere with his/her journey to reach his/her goal? If so, what kind of deep secret is it?
- What it the biggest obstacle that stands in your protagonist’s way of reaching his/her goal? Can you make the obstacle worse, so that your protagonist is pushed into hopelessness and despair before the climax?
- What important lesson does your protagonist learn by the end of your story that changes his/her view of the world or of himself/herself?
- How will reaching his/her goal change your protagonist? Can you make the change bigger so that it affects more of your characters?
- What kind of emotional response do you want your readers to have after the protagonist has reached his/her goal at the end of your story?
Use the questions as a means to brainstorm or to answer them directly. Just remember that nothing you write will be set in stone — you are allowed to change your mind later in the process of creating your story.