Search Results for: goals

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6 Requirements for Writing Better Character Goals

Quick. Tell me what your characters want. Maybe you have an immediate answer. Maybe your protagonist wants to save the world, survive, or live happily ever after. While those are all legit goals that have powered hundreds of good stories, what I’m talking about is what your characters want. I’m talking about the one thing your […]

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My 9 Writing Goals for the New Year

Last year, I wrote about how I don’t really like writing goals. Mostly, this is because they focus on the results and too often bypasses the importance of the journey. But this January, perhaps more than any other January, I find myself brimming with intentional and actionable ideas about where I want this year to […]

3 Resources You Need to Unlock Fascinating Character Goals

Arguably, the single most important decision you can make in any story is that of character goals. What do your characters want and how will they go about trying to get it? This is the whole theory of story all in a nutshell. I receive many questions from writers who are struggling with plot problems. Easily […]

How to Win NaNo Using Totally Doable Daily and Weekly Writing Goals

How to Win NaNo Using Totally Doable Daily and Weekly Writing Goals

What’s the one and only key to winning National Novel Writing Month? For that matter, what’s the key to writing a novel to its finish and being a successful writer, day in and day out, for the rest of your life? If you cheated by peeking at the title, then you’re probably already guessing “writing […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Characters Who Lack Solid Story Goals

Characters have to want something, right? That’s the whole point of a story. The character wants something; the antagonistic force gets in his way; conflict ensues. Bing, bang, boom. So it’s totally a no-brainer to point out that a book in which a character lacks solid story goals is a book that’s not going to […]

Structuring Your Story's Scenes: Options for Goals in a Scene

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 3: Options for Goals in a Scene

The story as a whole and every scene* within it begins with a goal. Your character wants something—something he will have difficulty accomplishing. What he wants frames the plot on both the macro and micro levels. What he wants defines him as a person, and, by extension, the theme of the book as a whole. The possibilities […]

Why Word Count Goals Can Be Destructive

Word count goals are the trusted aids of many a writer. With the ever-present call of duties, relationships, and even just sweet inertia, it’s often comforting to have set word count goals every day. Write 1,000 words, write two pages, write one scene, one chapter—and you’re finished. You can abandon your writing for the day […]

The Role of the Antagonist in Story Structure, Pt. 2 of 2

One way to think about plot is as a “push-pull between protagonist and antagonist.” Although the protagonist is the character who frames and, indeed, decides the story’s structure, the role of the antagonist in story structure is equally important. Last week, I shared an overview of the antagonist’s role in the first five major structural […]

The Role of the Antagonist in Story Structure, Pt. 1 of 2

If you’re a student of story structure, then you probably have a pretty good idea how each of the major plot beats affects your protagonist—and, indeed, how the protagonist in turn drives the plot beats. But what about the antagonist? What is the role of the antagonist in story structure? Plot can be described in […]

Do You Have to Write Every Day? 10 Pros and Cons

Should writers make it a habit to write every day? Is that the secret to success? Is that what distinguishes “real” writers? I used to think so. Often, when someone would ask me for my single recommendation for other writers, my go-to response was to reiterate some form of the advice from Peter de Vries […]