Objective Oriented Storytelling
My eyes shoot open. Was that my wife?
"Honey! I need you!"
Crap, is she in trouble?
I cast off the last remnant of sleep and leap off the couch. My feet barely touch the ground and I'm running for the door.
Wtf it's locked?
No time, I'll go through the bathroom. I slam the bathroom door open, slide across the floor, tear open the other door and rush into our bedroom.
"Can I have some coffee please?" asks my wife in her innocent little voice.
I stare at her while my heart stops racing, "Yeah sure."
What's the meaning of this story? Just a minute and I will explain exactly that. But first let me introduce this week's topic and what I consider the magic ingredients that bring a character to life: Goals and Objectives.
Last time we discussed how every story needs a character. If you missed that post check it out here: Character Creation 101. Even though every story needs a character, a character does not make up a story on their own. They need something more, they need something to do. Something I call goals and objectives.
Goals are the internal desires of our characters, for example to take over the world or become a great warrior. These are the intangible hopes and dreams that motivate our character to take action. Goals must align with the defining traits of our character.
Objectives are the most immediate desire our character has, for example getting a cup of coffee or opening the door. Objectives can really be anything as long as they cause our character to take action, even if that action is to sit still and do nothing.
Goals are important because they give our character the fuel they need to change and become something better than what they were. Or perhaps something far worse. Our character's goal needs to be in alignment with who they want to become but they can be in conflict with each other. In the story above my goal like most couples is to make sure my wife is safe and happy. This was my underlying motivation.
Objectives are often minor and inconsequential to the overall story but no less important because these make up the backbone of our story. Objectives get us from point A to point B. Without an objective our character is lost, and has no place to be or story to tell. The great part is an objective can be anything even something as simple as finding the next objective. If you've ever played an RPG video game you've seen this before. In my story the objective changed many times from getting off the couch to running to my wife and ultimately to getting a cup of coffee.
Goals and objectives take a list of our protagonists traits and turn them into the hero our story needs. Or conversely they turn our antagonist into the villain our hero needs to overcome.