In last week’s blog entry, I discussed the importance of Great characters to carry the plot for your short story by creating story goals. So, it logically follows that this week, I would focus on a few ways you can use to create successful story goals and keep your readers glued to the page.
5 Criteria For Creating Successful Story Goals
From the extensive reading I’ve done over the past two years, I found these five things will work to ensure your Story Goal will allow your MC to drive the plot.
1. Possession Of ____________
Your protagonist must try to gain possession of something – an object, a person, or information.
2. Relief From ____________
Your protagonist must try to gain relief from something tangible – a threat, an object, a person, an animal, or a condition such as oppression or persecution, and relief from something emotional – fear, pain, sadness, despair.
3. Terrible Consequences If ____________
Your protagonist must face terrible consequences if he fails to achieve his story goal.
4. A Worthy Motivation For ____________
Your protagonist must have a true motivation for pursuing his goal. These could include duty, freedom, love, honor, justice, dignity, integrity, redemption, self-respect, and survival.
5. Face Tremendous Odds
Your protagonist must face tremendous odds. It should appear impossible for your protagonist to achieve this goal.
One way to create a great story is through the creation of a central character or MC with strong motivation. Using this motivation, you can build a plot that will carry the story to the end and fulfill your readers’ need for an outcome they can believe.
How do you know if your story goal is good enough to support your short story?
In evaluating your MC’s motivation, you should ask yourself if the story goal expresses strong needs for the character to obtain.
Is the storyline defined by one of the following?
Does your MC need to?
- To get something physical.
- To cause something physical.
- To escape something physical.
- To resolve something physical.
- To survive something physical.
The Bottom Line:
If your story goal is physical, and if it meets these five criteria, you will have a solid plotting foundation for your story.
Join me next Monday when we will look at another aspect of creating a GREAT short story.