Character Goals: Why they have to change

Addicted to Heroines Blog TourWelcome to Day Seven of the Addicted to Heroines Blog Tour.

Today we’re delighted to share with you a guest post by author Samantha LaFantasie, who has some cogent remarks about what makes fictional characters, and maybe even real people, do what they do. Samantha writes:

Imagine, if you will, a story where the protagonist has only one goal in mind. It can be any goal. Your goal, perhaps…it really makes no difference how big or small that goal is.

Now imagine that this goal never changes. No matter what, it remains the same.

Would you find this story a bit dull? Would you think the character was cardboard and not 3-D? What other issues with the character would you have?

First off, you would want the protagonist of any story to be relatable. For that to happen, they need to change. When a person changes in everyday life, so do their goals. Whether that main goal has become a minor goal or shifted to a completely different goal altogether, it still changed. It’s forever altered by the experience of you or the character and the environment you or the character is placed in.

That is a short and sweet way of explaining why character goals have to change. Especially if authors want the story to have any impact or keep their readers interested and invested in their characters.

Heart Song by Samantha LaFantasieTake Heart Song for instance: Relena’s goal at the very beginning of the story was escape. She wanted to escape the Balai, the town, her father, and even her life as she knew it.

When Marren came, she felt her desires and goals change. Suddenly, they involved him. And when they crossed into the immortal realm, it became freeing the immortal races, and so on and so forth.

Relena’s goals changed repetitively throughout the story. They changed as she changed. She changed as she experienced her environment and events around her.

Now, imagine what her story would be like if she only wanted to continue running away? Although it could be an interesting concept to write up now that her story is told, but I’m thinking it wouldn’t be much of a story at all. Not to mention, I don’t think anyone would be interested in reading it.

Readers want to see character motivation, growth, and most of all, they want relatable. In order to do that, characters have to change and that means so do their goals.

Check out other posts in our Guest Post Round Robin, like

About Dee

"What if?" Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of “The Redoubt,” voted one of 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading 2016, and three other books in The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam epic historical fantasy series. She also co-authored the contemporary thriller, Naked Came the Sharks, with Jed Donellie. She contributed to Masters of Time: a SciFi/Fantasy Time Travel Anthology and has several Short Reads to her name, including Murder by the Book, A Mystery Mini. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives in The Barefoot Palace on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats ... and a dragon named Inky. Visit the “Dee-Scoveries” blog at http://devorahfox.com.
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4 Responses to Character Goals: Why they have to change

  1. I see your point. If the heroine only wanted to escape, he’d try to leave her love interest too. Her heart wouldn’t be open to receive the help and support he offered. A heroine must change to be believable.

  2. Alesha says:

    Well said, Samantha! As Devorah would say, “the thick plottens,” :-)

    I think it makes for a very interesting character when she steps out of her comfort zone and is willing to change or meet new challenges.

    • Dee says:

      Some advice I picked up years ago is when the plot seems stuck, make the lead character uncomfortable. That does spur her or him on to meeting this new challenge. It gets things moving again in an interesting way and brings out new aspects of the character’s personality.

  3. Cecilia says:

    Great post, Dev. And you are right, the hero should be relatable and change throughout the story. I’m trying to imagine if the character is constant. It won’t be fun, she needs to be challenged to come out of that shell. To change.

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