Your Character's Essential Desire

We all have core desires. For some, it’s a desire to be loved. For others, it’s acceptance. Or success. Or wealth. Or beauty. Or…well, you get the point. Regardless of the desire, many of us spend a good chunk of our lives in pursuit of it. And how we choose to navigate that pursuit often leads to our success – or failure.

Your fictional characters are no different. If you’re currently working on something, ask yourself, “What is my protagonist’s essential desire?” If you’re uncertain, you might need to give your character more thought. When you establish that desire, you establish clarity in your writing. That essential desire acts like a lighthouse, calling all your plot points home.

Establishing your character’s essential fear is equally important. After all, every good story has opposite forces battling it out. If you’ve created a character with an essential desire to find love, consider creating a secondary character that symbolizes his essential fear (say, for example, loneliness). Maybe a demanding boss keeps him at work late at night. Or perhaps it’s an ailing mother making demands on his time. Or maybe it’s a flesh-eating zombie. (Nothing wrecks your chances of finding love more than the threat of becoming someone’s dinner.)

Once you’ve determined those essential desires and fears, you’re on your way to creating a tension-filled story that will no doubt keep your readers glued to the page.