Monday, May 7, 2012

Characters Wanting Too Much and How This Can Be Effective

Throw a wrench at your character. Okay, not literally. But here’s what I’m thinking:

Last week when I was writing about character motivation (or comparing it to cold sores, whatever), I started thinking there’s more to it than just a character wanting something for a reason. Yes, you need that. But what if you took it a step further? Gave your character TWO things to want? And those two things clashed?

Three-dimensional characters have LAYERS and INNER STRUGGLES and what better way to create that sort of tension than to make your characters absolutely miserable.

But here’s the thing: the two desires need to be equal in importance to make it work. And I don’t mean a character wanting two boys instead of one and she has to make a decision between the two and oh my gosh it’s so hard!

Let’s try and twist that. What if she wanted the boy, but also wanted to keep the promise she made to her best friend that she’d set her up with that boy? (Not the most original example, but, hey, it’s early.)

You can do this with your character too. Think about what your character wants. Then think of the opposite. What if she wants that too? How would it affect her getting the other?


  1. I love this suggestion, but I did have to laugh at the two boy conflict. Nicely put!

  2. I've got this in my WIP (yays!) where the two things are the opposite. Just...I don't know what he's going to choose!