Alphabet Challenge Day 7 (mark two)
It’s day seven of my alphabet blogging challenge. I know I pronounced that yesterday, but I was WRONG, as some of you pointed out. Yesterday was day six and today is day seven. If I’m befuddled at this stage, what am I going to be like by the end of September? And that is a rhetorical question!
Okay, day seven.
The letter is G
and the topic is GOAL
Modern life seems to be all about to-do lists and achieving. You have to have priorities; you need aims; you must have goals, so we’re told.
Often goals are set for us by parents, or teachers, and later on by those above us at work. Before you even get the job, the interviewing panel are likely to ask, ‘Where do you want to be in five years?’
Sometimes your partner in life might set goals: ‘We’ve got to set aside an evening a week to spend together.’ Or you might set goals for yourself: you want to lose weight, or run in the London Marathon next year, or trek through the Amazon rainforest.
But more often than not, I suspect, most of us are happy to get to the end of the day, the end of the book we’re reading, the end of the bottle. Realistically, our goals are few. Human nature being disposed towards apathy and procrastination, the majority of us tend to drift.
However, such sloppiness in not good enough for characters in fiction. An essential part of their raison d’être is a goal. It might be big or small, but it has to exist and it has to be thwarted. The character must have something they WANT, and something must stop them getting it.
There’s a cliché that you only find out what people are really like in a crisis. If that’s partly true in real life, it’s completely true in fiction. Characters have to face conflict and through that, change – of some kind – occurs.
So, here are a few characters and their goals – what conflict would you put in their way:
- Jodie is a forty-year old architect who is fed up drawing plans for modern boxes and wants to design something exciting and innovative.
- Fliss is twenty-five. She’s been saving in secret for a trip to Australia because she thinks her biological father lives there.
- Josh was involved in a major car accident. His left leg has been amputated above the knee. He makes his mind up to compete in the paralympics in Rio.
Character + motivation or goal + conflict = plot. Easy!