by Rebecca Talley @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Executive Committee Chair
The main character in a novel must have a goal. He must have something he works toward, something he desperately wants, and if he does not obtain that something his life will not be the same.
Every novel should have a story goal and that goal should be clearly stated for the reader. In my novel, Heaven Scent, Liza is the main character. Her father has become obsessed with his career and has seemingly abandoned his family. Liza desperately wants her father back in her life. She wants her family to be as it once was. Throughout the book, she works toward the goal of trying to restore her family to its once happy state. In the first chapter, Liza clearly states this goal and she continues to restate it throughout the book.
Readers need to know what the goal is and what’s at stake if the goal is not obtained. Without a clear story goal, the reader gets lost and never fully engages with the story.
To determine the story goal you need to know what it is that your character wants. A new job? A husband? A child? A new house? Fame? Riches?
Once you know what your character wants, you need to know why. Why is this goal so important? What’s the underlying reason the character wants this goal? In Recovering Charles by Jason Wright, the main character, Luke Millward, wants to reconcile with his father. His search to do so leads him to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. Throughout the book, the reader wonders if Luke will be able to move beyond the past and repair his relationship with his father.
The story goal, or the desire to achieve it, propels the story forward. Without one, the story will flounder and finally fizzle. As a writer, you must be aware of the story goal and design smaller, scene goals that work toward the overall story goal.
Make sure your story has a clearly defined goal and you’ll not only have an easier time writing toward it, you’ll have readers anxious to read to the end to see if the character accomplished his goal.
Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.
Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.
After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.
Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.
You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.