Character Goals and Themes

Character Goals and Themes

We all know that Character is an important part of any kind of story telling but how do we create characters that our readers can connect to. One way to do it is by giving each character goals and themes as suggested by Moody Writing and  Socialpolitan Fiction Writing Craft.

Three Goals for Every Character

Moody Writing believes that every character should have a goal and they can be split into three types (a definition of each can be found in their article Three Goals for Every Character:

  1. Professional,
  2. Private
  3. Personal

Once you know what these three goals are for a character you can use them to weave a stronger story by having them intertwine with each other. To use the example Moody Writing provides your story maybe about a knight going to kill a dragon (a professional goal) to save a princess the knight is in love with (a private goal) however, he fears he is not good enough to complete the quest (a personal goal).

Moody Writing does point out this kind of approach does carry advantages and disadvantages. To read what they are head over to Moody Writing and read the whole article on Three Goals for Every Character. You won’t be disappointed.

Give Every Character A Theme

Socialpolitan Fiction Writing Craft agrees with Moody Writing in the post Fiction Writing: Give Every Character A Theme. In that post Socialpolitan Fiction Writing Craft says that:

Every CHARACTER needs a theme, too, from the doorman to the hero. It keeps a character consistent, clear, and functional.

As you can see Socialpolitan Fiction Writing Craft uses the word theme rather than goals but we think they are getting at the same thing. They use two basic rules for creating character themes which are:

  1. Every character needs a single-word theme to define him or her.
  2. Every character theme has an opposite to balance the story.

To find out more information about each of these points head over to  Fiction Writing: Give Every Character A Theme on the Socialpolitan Fiction Writing Craft website.

Writing Exercise

To finish we suggest a quick exercise. Select a story you have written and for each character answer the following questions:

  • What is their professional goal?
  • What is their private goal?
  • What is their personal goal?
  • What is their theme?
  • Who is the character with the opposite theme/goals?

With the answers to these questions in your head, redraft the story and see whether the characters come out any stronger. Let us know how you got on in the comments section.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.westlothianwriters.org.uk/character-goals-themes/

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