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Story goals – a tale of three horses

Three horses are grazing in a paddock: a brown horse, a black horse, and a grey one.

Which one would you cheer for?

Why would you cheer a horse that’s doing nothing but eat, you may say.

It’s a good point. So let’s say they spark into life and set off on a race across the paddock. Now it’s going to be a lot easier to cheer for one or the other, isn’t it?

You might still need a good reason to pick the grey over the black, but at least they have a goal, they are in motion, there is a reason to cheer.

It’s the same in life. If a person has a goal, if they are trying to get somewhere, do something, achieve something, they become interesting. It’s hard to take an interest in the person who has no goal, nothing they need to get done.

And, as it is in life, so it is in fiction too. If you are writing any kind of story, from a novel to a corporate case study, your characters must have goals.

Without goals, the reader won’t find the character interesting. They won’t have anyone to cheer for, and they won’t keep reading.

If you know your main character, and you know their goal, then you pretty much know your story.

Photo by Walraven on Flickr

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Robert Bonin April 26, 2010, 4:43 pm

    Very creative writing Sir! A very different spin on writing that I don’t remember being presented to me in college!



  • Simon May 3, 2010, 3:13 pm

    Thanks Robert, glad you enjoyed it.