Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What Do You Desire?

“Desire is the driving force behind plot.” -- Robert Olen Butler in “The Driving Force Behind Plot.” [The Writer’s Guide to Fiction published by The Writer Magazine, 2007]
This desire doesn’t have to be monumental, like avoiding death; but it has to be important to the character. Perhaps a son desires the love of his father, or an older woman wants to take the ballet classes she missed out on as a child. Both characters want something that’s important to them. Both must overcome a series of obstacles to reach their goals. In the case of the woman, the struggle may be no more than conquering her self-doubt. What I didn’t realize when I started writing -- and I see this in many stories from beginning writers -- is the importance of knowing what will happen to a character is she fails to reach her goal. That’s where the tension comes from in a story.

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