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  1. Yoav
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    Yoav Member

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    What are good plot goals/driving forces for a character in a high fantasy story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Yoav, Apr 5, 2016.

    As the title says, what do you think is a good driving force or a goal for a main character? I've been struggling with finding one, and I'd rather sway from cliche' things such as 'the chosen one who will decide the fate of the world/universe'. While plenty of good fantasy books use this, I'd rather try other goals so my story wont be too generic.
     
  2. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    He/she/they can just be a person working for a goal, and living their life, and caring about certain people or whatever. Making a very specific goal designed to work perfectly for a plot is a bad idea, I think. I've seen a number of people asking this kind of question. You do you. And let your characters do them. They're not puppets. Let them be human beings. They don't always follow an agenda. Normally, all you use is just make them in some way opposed to antagonistic characters, and let them conflict. But it should be all about that, and I personally would give your protagonist a good number of different motivations depending on what they're doing and how they're feeling.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
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  3. Yoav
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    Yoav Member

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    I feel like you're right, that characters do not always have to be following an agenda, however I'm still not sure on what would make the character leave his usual routine to begin the plot.
     
  4. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    It's hard to answer this question because it's so open. It's like saying, what colour is a good colour? But if you want to start germinating your story ideas by thinking about your MC's story goal, you could start by thinking about the kind of person you'd like to tell a story about and go from there. Or you could approach the problem from a plot perspective and reverse engineer the character from the thing that needs to be done to make the story end.

    This is an 'inciting incident' problem (at least it is within the bounds of commonly used plot structures). Think about how the outside world could force itself on your character, and don't agonize too much about making it stunning or desperately original. How you tell the story is often more important than what the story is.
     
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  5. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Well, what are his main ideologies? How do they compare to the ideologies and behaviours of the characters he is supposed to conflict with? How dramatic is your story? How violent? Design an appropriate narrative of conflict between the characters based on the things they would conflict over. To whatever degree in whatever method or methods employed you want. Often conflict between protagonists and antagonists forms a key part of the story, especially in this kind of story. So what kind of interaction do you want them to have? How do you want things to play out?
    If this high fantasy, it's probably reasonably epic, right? So there's probably some kingdoms at stake or whatever. Power struggles. Ideological warfare. And/or more personal conflicts. A proud warrior hunting that one wily sorcerer rival. An apprentice conflicting with his master as he begins to disagree with his actions. That kind of stuff. It would probably help to know more about your setting, style, and details about key characters.
     
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  6. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The same as the plot goals/driving forces for a character in a regular story ;)

    Is this a high-fantasy political thriller, a high-fantasy war story, a high-fantasy superhero(es)-versus-supervillain(s) story?
     
  7. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    So many options.
    You're almost asking us what your story should be.

    A newt who's been turned into a human by an evil sorcerer and wants to free itself from the vile enchantment.

    A sorcerer with a penchant for skull shaped head-ware and pointy shoulder pads who hates being stereotyped as an evil sorcerer.

    A sculptor who's been tasked with building a twenty foot gilt statue of a god, that no-one can agree what he looks like.

    A priestess who finds out her god is an elaborate hoax and is conflicted whether to continue with the charade of her superiors or expose them for the frauds they are.

    A powerful man who is now cursed so that everyone forgets who he is every 24 hours.

    A vampire who longs to see the daytime again and aims to formulate a really powerful sunblock.

    A man who wishes to discover a dungeon full of treasures and monsters, so that he can set up an inn nearby that adventurers can gather at to form their adventuring parties.

    They're just random ideas pulled from the top of my brain. I'm sure I could pull out 100 more fairly quickly.

    Brainstorm characters that could exist in a fantasy world and then brainstorm things that they might want or misfortunes that might befall them. Don't be afraid to include the silly stuff at this stage.
     
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  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is this a "leave home" plot? If so, generics for why a person would leave home:
    - Running to something. (The lost parent or sibling, the city with the streets of gold, the treasure, the...whatever.)
    - Running away from something. (The abusive parent, the slave owner, the crime they committed, the person they hurt, the war in their own country.)
    - Trying to become something. (Learn a skill, become a hero, become a farmer, become wealthy or important, become a husband or wife and all the women are Over There, become a mother or father and the key to fertility is Over There.)
    - Tightly attached to another person who has one of the above goals.
    - Running back home. (Something--a tornado, the army, slavers, one of the above that they now regret--took them away from home and now they want to go back.)
     
  9. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is it OK that I just made a thread about this :D

    http://www.writingforums.org/threads/non-standard-scifi-fantasy-plots.145460/
     
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  10. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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  11. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fountain of youth is always a good driving goal.
     

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