Well, I started reading through Debra Dixon’s “Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction” this morning. It’s not a long book – a hundred and sixty-some pages, eleven chapters and a few appendices. I’m already finished the first two chapters – an introduction, and the chapter about goals. And I’m about halfway through chapter three, about motivations. (You only get one guess what chapter four is 😉 )
So far, it’s great stuff. The one thing I’m slightly disappointed in is that Debra doesn’t try to give a long example list of possibilities for character goals etcetra, but what she’s doing is at least as good – she gives some in-depth examples from touchstone movies like The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca, and a lot of helpful guidelines about what a goal needs to DO to be effective, why they work and why they might not, and so on. I’m learning a lot and loving it.
And my Nanowrimo idea is starting to come together already. I’m thinking of doing a science fiction YA story about a teenager living on a distant planet, who finds out that his parents have mortgaged his life to a corporation to finance their little souvenir stand; if they don’t pay off the loan by his eighteenth birthday, he’ll have to go up out of the tunnels to the forbidding planetary surface and work for the Corporation there. And he doesn’t believe his parents can raise the money in time, so he has to do it himself. That’s a strong goal, right? He’s motivated by not wanting to die young, working for the Corporation, and dreaming of doing more with his life, seeing the galaxy. There’s urgency, because if he can’t raise the money in time, the corporation doesn’t have to sell him his freedom.