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.
What kind of questions do you ask to get to the core of your protagonist’s goal? Or do you find the core of your protagonist’s goal in some other way?
Do you want a Scrivener template that will help you with your characters?
The Character Focused Scrivener Template is designed to help you create and develop your characters.
It includes character archetype templates, templates to help establish your characters' backstories, templates to develop their voices, and more.