Narrative Basics Lesson 1: Characters

Characters and their experiences

Inside: What they want

One of the most important parts of any character, in any story, is what they want.

What characters want drives what they do, which drives story.

Here's something Mr Twit wants.

Today, although they were retired, Mr Twit still wanted to train monkeys. It was his dream that one day he would own the first GREAT UPSIDE DOWN MONKEY CIRCUS in the world.

The TwitsRoald DahlSource

In the first sentence, we have a little bit of setup, then Dahl tells us what Mr Twit wants.

In the second sentence, Dahl expands on the want with more detail.

Booger had never expected to find himself as a first mate on a pirate ship, but he knew that saving the treasure from all their adventures would help him with his real dream—starting a bakery. When he lay down to sleep at night, he imagined all the different types of cupcakes he could make.

Although she had been a stray for nearly a year now, and she was terribly dirty and sad-looking, all Tilly wanted was a warm house with a loving owner. It would be so nice to have a human feed her some proper food, and comb out her matted fur until it was soft and silky again.

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