setting-goals1What are your goals for this Friday? Get through the day and look forward to the weekend? Put the finishing touches on a project? Fix a yummy meal for the family? Find a good parking spot? Develop a little more patience with a whining child? Take a walk and burn a few calories? Add more words to a novel-in-progress? Declutter a bookshelf?

We all have plenty of goals. Some are big ones like career advancement, character development, or raising a family of well-adjusted children. Others are simply smaller steps to get us through the day and fulfill our responsibilities. Every day we hopefully make a little bit of progress toward our goals … and therefore get one step closer to reaching our dreams.

Characters in a book become more realistic when they have goals, too. They want to find love, get a job, avoid getting fired, solve a mystery, or escape a killer. Those last few goals are one of the key differences between real life and fiction.

Someone once said that fiction is life with the boring parts taken out. I’m not interested in reading about a character whose main goals for the day are to get to work on time, earn their paycheck, pick up groceries on the way home, and eat in front of the television while watching their favorite show. I’d rather read a story with higher stakes if the goals aren’t met!

The best fictional characters are those who want big things and then take action to achieve their goals. As a reader, I find myself cheering for characters who go after their dreams and then feel their frustration when plans fall apart. Somehow along the way after being lost in their story, I emerge from the fictional world with the motivation to pursue my own dreams with equal determination. Almost as if those characters would return the favor and cheer for me.

So, as I seek to write fiction people can relate to and learn from, I will make sure my characters have goals.

What about you? What are your big goals for today? What are your little goals? Would you want to read about someone’s little goals? Why or why not?

Plenty of Goals
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