Your Characters’ Personal Goals

By Melanie Anne Phillips

Although a personal goal for each character is not absolutely essential, at some point your readers or audience is going to wonder what is driving each character to brave the trials and obstacles. If you haven’t supplied a believable motivation, it will stand out as a story hole.


What is the reason a character becomes involved in the quest?  Do they simply believe in the cause, or is there something close to their hearts that is unique to them and can only be satisfied if the goal is achieved (or thwarted)?


Personal goals can range from through a whole range of issues such as improving social status, resolving a past inequity, proving something to someone, proving something to oneself, protecting a loved one, finding the truth, recapturing the thrill of past quests, completing a checklist, finding illumination and many more.


In fact, any goal you can think of could be used as either the common goal or a personal goal, depending upon whether all the characters are trying to achieve it or if it is the goal of just one character alone that achievement of the common goal will satisfy.


If your story has a common goal but no personal goals, consider adding more humanity and individuality to your characters by giving each of them a personal reason to participate in the overall quest.


This tip was excerpted from


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