Goal and Motivation: What Does Your Story Character Want, and Why?

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By Rayne Hall, @RayneHall


Part of the Focus on Short Fiction Series

JH: Goals and motivations drive every story, but they’re critical in a short story. Rayne Hall discusses character wants and needs and how they keep readers hooked.

Today, I want to share a professional trick for hooking readers from the start and keeping them hooked until your story’s ending.

Give your main character a goal and an urgent reason to pursue it. Perhaps she wants to or win a prize in the village flower show, rescue her daughter from the kidnappers, get her suitor to propose marriage or raise money for her business.

Make this as important as possible: she doesn’t just want it, she needs it. (I’ll use the female pronoun in this article, but of course the main character in your story can also be male.) Give her a compelling reason (or better, several) for needing to achieve this.
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