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31 Days of NaNoPrepMo: Day 6

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31-Days-of-NaNoPrepMo-by-Katrina-OstranderDay 6: What does your protagonist want most in the world, and why?

Your Protagonist. Your protagonist’s goal is the most important element of their character. It’s what the story is going to be fundamentally about: your audience is going to be primarily concerned with whether or not the protagonist succeeds or fails—whether they get what they wanted or get something else (perhaps what they needed). At this point you should ask yourself what achieving the goal looks like from within (emotionally) and without (tangibly, physically).

  • What happened to your protagonist in the past (backstory) that made them want that?
  • What would happen if they did not achieve their goal? In other words, what’s at stake?
  • Is their conscious goal different from their subconscious desires? What would prompt the revelation or shift?
  • Based on your theme, do you think the ending should be happy, tragic, or bittersweet?

Action Plan: Write down your responses to the above questions and continue filling out your character questionnaire, answering any blank spaces that now make sense in light of your protagonist’s goal.

Additional Reading: “Conscious vs. Unconscious Desire” from The Story Department“Goals Define Plot” from Writers Store“How to Tell if Your Protagonist Needs a Better Goal” from Helping Writers Become Authors,

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