• Between the Lines

    Laurin Wittig is an award-winning author of historical romance novels originally published by Berkley/Jove and now available as ebooks. She has 20+ years of experience in the writing business as an author, a critiquer, and teacher of creative writing.

    In October, 2011, she closed her critique business in order to focus on her own writing. She maintains this blog as a resource to writers.

    To learn more about Laurin's books please visit LaurinWittig.com
  • What Between the Lines clients are saying…

    “Laurin Wittig has a phenomenal gift for identifying the problems in a story and, more importantly, suggesting ways to fix them. I can’t imagine trying to write a book without her!”
    Pamela Palmer
    New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Feral Warriors series from Avon.

    “Laurin Wittig’s talent for finding the essence of a scene and pointing it in a logical and more focused direction is unmatched. Laurin’s guidance is kind and to the point. More importantly she MOTIVATES!”
    Elizabeth Holcombe
    Author of Heaven and the Heather from Berkley/Jove

    “Laurin Wittig is the sharpest story surgeon you could ever desire. She peels away the unnecessary layers to find the strong bones of your plot and character. Laurin has discerned things about my characters that I was still waiting to discover, and I find her insights stunning.”
    Anne Shaw Moran
    The Marlene Award Finalist

    “Laurin Wittig is a genius. Her insightful comments and suggestions helped me change a good manuscript into a great manuscript. I plan to use her critique service for all my future novels. She's the writing/critique partner that we all secretly hope to find -- someone who will help your book become the best it can be, without any power struggles, jealousy or secret agendas.”
    Beverly Giroux
    Golden Heart Contest Finalist

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,633 other followers

  • Proud member of:

    Visit Novelists, Inc.


  • Advertisements

Got Character Goals?

Goal DefinitionIt’s a new year and every blog I go to is talking about goals or resolutions and yes, I am, too, but bear with me as this post applies to the craft of writing, not your personal goals. 

Goals as craft, you ask?  Yes, I say.  Two ways goals are used when crafting your story come to mind immediately, though I’m sure there are more.   Let’s tackle the first today.

There is the quintessential GMC of Deb Dixon fame.  Goal, Motivation & Conflict.  The big three of character creation.  I’m leaving a discussion of the merits of motivation and conflict for another day because today’s goal is,  well, goals. 

Every character needs a goal, two in fact, one internal (emotional) and one external (action).  I think of them as needs and wants, respectively, as in what does the character need in order to be happy/whole/sane/etc. and what does the character think she wants right now.  (Feel free to substitute “he” for every “she” if that fits your story better.)

Without a goal your character has nothing to learn in your story (that’s from the internal goal) and nothing to do (that’s from the external goal).  Goal’s can be big or small — though when talking characters, bigger is usually more compelling. 

Goals drive your plot. 

Did you get that?  What your character needs and wants drives what happens in the story — aka, your plot.  If your character needs to learn to trust in order to be happy again (an internal goal), then your story better put that character in positions where she has to learn how to trust, and that trust must be tested, hard, so the character learns the lesson deep in her bones.  And if what the character wants (that external goal) is at odds with what she needs (wants to be a hermit so she never has to trust anyone again) you’ve got serious internal conflict to make the reader turn the page… but I’m getting ahead of myself here.   I’ll save conflict for another day.

Set Goals Blackboard

So, in the spirit of the New Year and the annual frenzy of resolutions and goal setting, do you know what your current protagonist’s goals are?  What about your villain?  If you are writing a romance or anything that has a romance in it, you need to know both the hero’s and the heroine’s goals.  See if you can write them down, one sentence per goal:

My character needs…

My character wants…

If you can’t hone it down to one simple, clear, statement per goal I’m betting you don’t have a good handle on that character yet, and you very well may have a muddy plot.   So get to work and make your characters set some goals.  it’s a great way to start a new year!

Tune in tomorrow for my other craft related goal.  This one is all about pacing.

Happy New Year!


2 Responses

  1. I found your ‘Got Character Goal?’ blog so incredibly useful. I have Debra Dixon’s book and have read and re-read it, but your blog was my lightbulb moment. Yay! I was wondering if you’ll be blogging about Character Motivation and Character Conflict? And if so when.

    Thank you again for posting this

  2. Kendra,

    So glad you found the post useful! It took me years to figure out exactly what all that internal/external stuff really meant. I’ve been meaning to continue that for motivation and conflict to round out the classic trio. It’s on my to-blog list and I’ll try to get one up soon!

    Thanks for stopping by!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: