Thursday, December 16, 2010

Character Goals by Christine Duncan

A recent headline on my browser caught my attention. The Fed declares No Inflation. The Subtitle declared: Consumer Prices not up.

Oh Really? In my neck of the woods, gas is up, the cost for water to my house is up, electric and phone bills have gone up, the cost of banking and owning a credit card has gone up. And well, you get the picture. The headline made me see red. It's all in how you see it, right? Maybe (although a recent trip to the grocery does not confirm this.) food and consumer goods are not up.

And therein is the lesson for those of us who write. It is all in how you see it. Your bad guy is not thinking he's the bad guy in anything he's doing. He has a goal. He wants something. And that something colors his actions.

To my way of thinking, any way of accounting for this economy that doesn't include the necessities like the electric bill is...well, freaking evil. But the Fed isn't trying to be evil. (I think.)

In the same way, your bad guy is just operating the way that will be best for him.

So if your characters need a little lift, sit down and think about it. Take each character separately, not just your hero, and decide their goals and beliefs. You don't have to fill out one of those characterization forms that tell you to put down the character's favorite color. But you do have to know what rocks his world. It will make deciding what they want to do next so much easier.

Christine Duncan is the author of the Kaye Berreano mystery series. Book two of the series, Safe House is available now.


N. R. Williams said...

So true Christine. My villain no he isn't gaining any brownie points with God, but he definitely feels justified about everything he does.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Morgan Mandel said...

It's all in the point of view. The glass is either half empty or half full.

Yes, villains may have strange reasoning, but they think they're right. It's other people who realize the villains are screwed up.

Morgan Mandel