main character motivation

by Jesse
(Texas, US)

Question: I am torn between two maybe different motivations for my main character. Revenge for things that were done to him in childhood. Second is saving his hometown from human slavers and rescuing his childhood friend.

I can't decide which to go with. Both are near and dear to me. I guess I could do both at the same time. That seems like an awful complicated storyline though.

Would it be better to do separate or both? I don't know.

It has me stumped at the story goal level.

Answer: Actually, the usual solution is to incorporate both goals as separate throughlines.

The goal of saving the town is the best candidate for the Story Goal, because it will involve or affect most of the characters in the story.

However, in dramatica theory, the Story Goal and the other 7 Plot Elements are part of the Overall story throughline, which is only one of the throughlines in a complete story.

You also need a Main Character throughline, which concerns the main character's inner conflict. It strikes me that the MC throughline in your story could be about his struggle with his desire for revenge and the resolution of his past.

In a tightly constructed story, everything boils down to a choice at the climax. The main must character choose how to resolve his inner conflict - whether he will remain the same person as when the story started, or whether to grow/change and be a different person. Whichever choice he makes will determine whether he is able to achieve the Story Goal.

The connection between his inner conflict and the Story Goal is one of the special things about a main character. It makes him the ideal person to bring about the conclusion of the story.

It's also what makes the crisis and the outcome unpredictable to the reader. Will the main character change or not? Which choice will lead to success? Make a solid case for any of these possibilities and the reader will be dying to find out what happens.

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