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.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero