Podcast – Episode 1 – Making Characters Three Dimensional With Goals

Episode 1 - Developing Three Dimensional Characters With Goals

Episode 1 - Developing Three Dimensional Characters With Goals

This is the first of a series of podcasts I have recorded on elements of writing.  This podcast is a little over 30 minutes long and discusses how Character’s Goals can be leveraged to further braid character and plot, as well as add dimension to your characters.

I. Introduction

a. What a writer … “wants is a set of rules on what to do and what not to do in writing fiction….”when one begins to be persuaded that certain things must never be done in fiction and certain other things must always be done, one has entered the first stage of aesthetic arthritis, the disease that ends in pedantic rigidity and the atrophy of intuition.”–John Gardner, The Art of Fiction


b. Take what you want and leave the rest.


II. Five Core Elements of Story

a. Deep Character – ask ‘WHY’

b. Theme – the point of your story

c. Braiding internal and external conflict – intertwine plot and characters

d. Layering – multipurpose scenes and multidimensional characters

e. Surprise


III. Why are Goals Important?

a. They are the first step in defining and understanding your character.

b. It’s not about WHAT, it’s about WHY.

c. Corporate Mogul:  Difference between ‘To be rich” and “Never to be poor:”

d. Story = Character

e. “How much your character cares about their goals is in direct proportion to how much the reader will care.” — Laura DeVries

f. Use goals to inject conflict in your story


IV. Two Types of Goals: Long Range Goals, Short Range Goals

a. Long Range Goals

 i. Internal goal akin to self-concept, hopes, wishes, and dreams – overriding drive in the characters’ life

ii. Colors all choices the character makes

iii. “What would it take to make the character content with his/her life?”

iv. One major character will see their Long Range Goal change in popular fiction (or the meaning of the goal will change).

v. Long Range Goal can be conscious or subconscious.

vi. The key is to ask ‘WHY’

vii. Use role-playing techniques, character biographies, character interviews, bubble charts,

viii. Example:  Jerry Maguire and Dorothy Boyd from the movie, Jerry Maguire.

b. Short Range Goals

i. Tangible goal for character at the beginning of the book.

ii. Short range goals show character

iii. A new short range goal ends every scene


V. For More Information

a. www.robinperini.com or www.discoveringstorymagic.com

b.   Podcast – Episode 1 – Making Characters Three Dimensional With Goals


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2 Responses to “Podcast – Episode 1 – Making Characters Three Dimensional With Goals”

  1. Emily Wilkes Says:

    I found this really useful while I was writing a story. Thanks for posting it. The podcast really helped me to understand how to make characters more three dimensional.

  2. Sally Clements Says:

    Hi Robin! Great podcast. I did advanced story magic in ooh, think it was 2007 and turning points too. Just sold my first story a couple of months ago to wild rose press.

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