Lacking clear motive and goal

by Elena
(London)

Question: My story is about how one man works his way up into society so he can tear it apart from the inside. I feel that's the main "goal" of the story (to show how he does this), but I'm not sure how to make it interesting. The man comes into this society from abroad, but I'm struggling to think of a motive or goal for him, since by the end of it he will have complete power over the area. I can't think of why he should want to do that, but it can't be too extravagant (kill everyone in sight) because that will point away from the theme of the book.


Answer: I suggest you do some research into the psychology behind ambition or perhaps historical precedents. You may well ask yourself what motivated Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great.

Some psychologists might say that conquerors seek revenge for early childhood trauma. Certainly revenge has been a common motivation for protagonists. Since your protagonist seems to pursue a covert route to power, you might also do some research on sociopaths and psychopaths.

Bear in mind that your protagonist may not know himself why he does what he does -- which could be the basis of his inner conflict. He may only realize at his personal crisis the cause of his quest for power.

Comments for Lacking clear motive and goal

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Jul 19, 2015
I want to be a well known writter
by: Cosmos

I started writing while I was still at school. I used to write essays and my English teachers told me that I am a good writer. Now I have written 5 novels but I can't find publish and I'm starting to give up.

Jul 22, 2015
to Cosmos
by: Glen

Sadly, being a good writer does not guarantee you will be published. And being a bad writer does not always prevent someone from being published. A lot depends on luck and having the right book cross the right editor's desk at the right time.

I suggest you try showing your work to others - a writers' group, professional writers, teachers of writing, etc. Whether they tell you your work is great or offer suggestions for improvement, the feedback can be valuable either way.

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