Writer's Digest


At the outset of any story, most characters find themselves beset by the following motivational factors:

• A state of LACK: Something is missing from his life.
• This lack speaks to an unfulfilled YEARNING, or dream of life: the kind of person the character longs to be, the way of life he hopes to live.
• The reason this Yearning remains unfulfilled is due to various forms of RESISTANCE holding him back, internally and externally.
• The Resistance and Yearning are embodied in habitual behaviors referred to as PATHOLOGICAL MANEUVERS and PERSISTENT VIRTUES.

Then something happens—the character makes a decision, goes on a journey, confronts an adversary, helps a stranger, discovers something, conceals something. Or the world around the character shifts, yields, convulses. The market crashes. At long last: rain.

That occurrence triggers the DESIRE to respond or to act.

It is the that is often easiest and simplest to identify and define—to win the loved one, repel the invaders, complete the expedition,

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