Must characters have a goal in the beginning?

by Zapata

Question: Hello... It's me again LOL I think I've post in the wrong section before

I just finished writing novel with two povs and 7 characters.
For the most important character (Just call it 'Ted') I use first person pov and else use third limited.

In the beginning of the story Ted just wants to get out of his town, adventuring from town to town (I feel it's kind of weak goal) but in the few last chapters his goal changes to the stronger one.
So, while Ted still sticks with the weak goal, I build the tension by telling the reader another character's background and conflict. (Don't worry, because all of them have strong goals that will end up with Ted's biggest conflict in the end)

Oh... one more information.
The style I write is like I told from Ted's side. and other, then back to Ted, and else, back again to Ted, etc. (They have different goal though)

So is that okay if I do that?
Well I feeling worry though in the beginning, but after saw movie Dorian Gray I feel It's the same case (Dorian has no goal in the beginning right? or I'm wrong?)

Sorry if the explanation far too long and wasn't so clear' Thanks

Answer: Sometimes the main character does not embrace the Story Goal right away - that is, the goal that eventually most of the characters will be involved in or affected by.

Nonetheless, a main character should have a personal problem/goal that forms the basis of his inner conflict. It sounds like your character, Ted, starts off with some essential dissatisfaction in life, a personal problem which he is trying to solve by getting out of his town.

Assuming that is the case, the challenge will be: will this method of coping by running away ultimately help him solve the Story Goal, or will he have to learn a new approach that involves standing his ground? In the story, we would expect to see Ted pressured to change his approach, perhaps by making alliances or connections to a new community so that he is forced to consider settling down.

If all that is true, we would expect to see Ted forced to make a decision at the climax - whether to leave again or stay. That decision will determine whether he achieves the big Story Goal that affects everyone and what the outcome of the story is.

Best of luck with your writing.

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