Last month I talked about internal conflict. If you missed it, it can be found in the archive. Deb Dixon’s formula for a successful book also includes having goals for your characters.

In reading contest entries, I often see a lack of goals, especially for the heroines. A heroine’s goal needs to be more than meeting Mr. Right and falling in love. Today’s heroine needs purpose and drive. It doesn’t have to be anything as grand as being an astronaut. It can be simple such as running a small business or being accepted by a certain group. Also your reader needs to know what drives your hero or heroine toward his or her goals.

Having goals and motivation for your characters give them more depth and make them three-dimensional.

In Spitited Away by Cindy Miles, her heroine is a forensic archaeologist. She wants to find out what happened to a famous knight who mysteriously disappeared. Years earlier while visiting his castle, she has a ghostly encounter that piques her curiosity and motivates her to dig into the knight’s past. Later when finally given the chance to excavate the grounds, she is unaware that the ghost of the fearsome knight is present and that she’ll fall in love with him. I really enjoyed this book.

Love should be the last thing your hero and heroine expect to have happen or necessarily want. It needs to catch them off guard. As their motivations change, so will their goals.

Goals aren’t limited to your hero and heroine. Your antagonist needs to have a goal and a reason why he or she is driven to achieve it. If you have subplots, those characters also need motivated goals.

To learn more about goals and motivation read Deb Dixon’s book, Goals, Motivation, and Conflict at www.gryphonbooksforwriters.com.