Wright’s Writing Corner: Diamonds, Piano, Chicken

The latest from my beautiful and talented wife:




What does your character want?

This is one of the number one things aspiring writers leave out of their
manuscript. They tend not to tell the reader what the character wants.
In particular, the reader needs to know: What is the character’s goal?
What is his motive for his action? What are the stakes if he fails?

Why is this important?

If a character achieves a goal that the reader is unaware he desired, it
means nothing to the reader.

If I don’t know what a character wants, I, the reader, can’t want it
either. So I am not capable of caring about whether he gets it.

Even if I really, really want to care.

To illustrate this, imagine the following scenario: A damaged pirate
ship captures a freighter. The freighter contains as cargo: a piano, a
chicken, and a thousand diamond.