1. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    Your Honest Opinion - Goals

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by psyence53, Jun 7, 2009.

    I decided to put this here, rather than in the character ones, because, either way, it's an established part of the character, and i'm a bit confused in it's relation to the story, and just GENERALLY :p Hence here.

    So far, since joining this site actually (thank you all!), I feel like I have climbed a few steps in writing. Now i can see the landing, where I can get on with writing, and it's so close. There are a few things I'm trying to get straight before i can get there though. One of the problems is this:

    Characters need motivation, a goal, right? I have two main characters, and battling to figure out from whose eyes to tell most of the story, or alternate. But the male character is the focus of the story, so I think HE is the MAIN main character. His only goal is to end his life. He wants to kill himself, but can't. Time and time again he has come close but never done it. He has tried and failed, or backed out. With each failure he wants it more and more. He has gone the longest time yet without trying, because he is sick of the failure and wants to get it right. The other main character, female, I'm not sure about her goal. She is just looking after her mother (depressed from losing her husband). Is the suicide goal enough for this book? (Not intended as a lengthy novel, just a modest paperback - in my mind xD) And what can I do about the female character, or should i just let what happens happen?

    The main point for now is of the male character. Can a book work with that? The only book i've read about suicide is the Nick Hornby one, but that is a comedy.
     
  2. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    Yes, it is enough of a goal. No need to over-complicate things if that's not the natural way the story is progressing. Do you have a way to fit the female character into the story involving the male one? Like...I don't know, having them meet at a supermarket or something?
     
  3. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    Yes, the book is much about their "relationship", and the darker side of human emotion and behaviour. It is very much in progress, and i hope that after a first draft, better ideas will surface. I think the last remaining nagging thought that might put me off is the fear that it wil be too cliche. I hate conventions and I don't want it to be "typical." Funnily enough, a supermarket is involved (the limit of my knowledge of work life, for now anyway). Thank you for replying, i'm glad, and that has helped me onto the next step.
     
  4. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    I'm stuck already! I can't take my idea for the beginning into the rest of the story. There's a gap at the most annoying point. I've never been so close to writing... damn it. I guess not having faith in your ideas is the worst thing.
     
  5. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    I don't think you neccisarilly need to define a goal for your charecters. I think what you need to focus on is how your charecters react to a certain situation.

    From what you said in your first post it sounds like they'll be able to react to a wide variety of situations.
     
  6. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    They have actually suprised me with their reactions... like i never thought one of the characters would get so worked up that they would try to kill the other 0_0
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Response to a situation is at the core of what defines a plot, and the goal at the time is an essential element.

    A plot consists of an actor, a goal, the motivation to achieve that goal, and the opposition that tries to block or sidetrack the actor from the goal.

    A storyline consists of a chronology of events involving zero or more characters. Without any characters, there cannot really be any plots, although actors need not be human/humanoid.

    Typically, a story consists of a series of interacting plots, one of which is identified as the main plot. motivations may cooperate, or one character's plot may be another character's opposition.

    If the opposition comes from the same character, it is an internal conflict.

    Understanding the goals, motivation, and opposition acting upon a character is very useful, because you can fine tune those elements to modulate the tension in the story.
     
  8. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    What is the main message you want to tell? That is, what is your theme? For me, I can't start writing a novel until I know the theme, the message I wish to speak to the world, so that when I'm long dead, my message about the human condition remains.

    I've heard the hardest part of a novel to write is the middle, and I agree. I've completed four novels and I'm 50k words into the 5th. In all of them, the hardest part to write was the middle, which happens to be the longest part of a novel.

    It's easy to think of a beginning and an ending, but not so easy to create the long middle that keeps the MC(s) struggling to reach his goal and all the while ramping up the tension.

    You might find this helpful.
     
  9. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    You're right. What I was trying to suggest to psyence was that she shouldn't get to bogged down trying to define a goal for her charecter. If you have a good story or idea then the goal's will naturally be worked out as you put the ideas onto paper. She already sounds like she's got an idea of what she wants to do and should just go for it. When she does a review of what she's written she'll be able to see and clearly define the goals and the motivation of the charecters.
     
  10. Ragnar
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    Ragnar Contributing Member

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    Needs a goal? That depends on the character itself, some characters have no goal, or at least think they do not. Characters that think they don't have a goal or won't admit that they have one can be really entertaining in my experience. Also characters with no goal, that simply go along acting on every whim, can spice up the story. It all comes down to what kind of story it is though.

    A goal of finding the mother should be plenty.
     

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