Just Write

What Your Character Wants

You have to figure out what you want in life, what you’re going after. 

Think about it. If you don’t have a clear picture of what you want, how can you take action to get it? Half the battle of becoming the person you want to be is believing and convincing yourself that it’s possible. We are our own worst enemies after all. 

That said, it’s just as important to figure out what your character wants. 

Their external wants direct the actions they take. We can’t take action (at least not directed action that will get us closer to our goals) until we know what we’re working toward. The same can be said for your character. Without a clear want, why would they take any action at all? And a scene without action (meaning something changes from start to finish due to conflict), is boring and should probably be cut. 

When a character wants something, they are more likely to take risks to get it. The more important the desire, the more the character will risk. And that risk, what they stand to lose should they not get what they want (i.e. stakes), keeps readers reading. 

That said, as a writer, it’s important to know what your character wants so that you can keep them moving toward it while putting obstacles in their way. The obstacles should be progressively harder to overcome. And, your character should continually be in active pursuit of their goal. The decisions they make to get what they want, when there is pressure put on them to decide, show who your character is at their core. 

The clearer you are about your wants, the easier it will be to write that character. 

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