Monday, February 1, 2010

MC Goals ... One or Both?

Hi, All:

I'm back to blogging after an unintended week off. I guess you could say I'm taking life as it comes in 2010. How about you, do you see any changes happening in your lifestyle this year as we begin February?

On a writing note, I've been pondering this MC External Goal thing that all we writers strive to reveal early in our novels. For all you romance writers out there, here's a question for you. There are generally two MC's in a romance, the hero and the heroine, and if you're writing your story in alternating POV do both the hero and heroine need individual measurable external story goals? Or would having one strong one for either the hero or heroine suffice?


Surrendering to Him,

Eileen

37 comments:

Katie Ganshert said...

So glad to see you again, Eileen!

I'm by NO means an expert, but I tend to give both my hero and heroine a story goal. It's been subtler in past stories, but the one I'm wroking on now...hero and heroine definitely have story goals. Both are strong. And both are opposing. They are each other's antagonists. Makes for good conflict. :)

Rebecca Nazar said...

Switching POVs is tough, I feel. I'd probably stick with one or use third-person omniscient, but that's just me.

Follow your heart. : )

Robyn Campbell said...

I wish I could help you Eileen. I love to read romance but I don't write it. I will offer up advice based on my reading of romance though.

I love to see them both have story goals. It just makes the reading better to me. Page turner all the way around. To me at least. Glad you are back. (^_^)

Danyelle said...

I don't write straight romance, but some of my books have multiple POVs. I think it makes a stronger story and a stronger book for them each to have a goal, otherwise, why write from that POV? :)

Joanne said...

I don't write romance, but I like the idea of two story goals, each more than likely feeding off the other, creating conflict, or moving the story forward in their interactions. Welcome back!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I always give both my MCs a G, M, and C. It helps me understand why each character is there and how they're getting in each other's way. :)

Erica Vetsch said...

Welcome back!

I try to give each character a story goal, and if possible, to put those goals in opposition to each other.

Mary Connealy is a master at this. If the hero is a buffalo rancher, the heroine is a passionate vegetarian. If the hero is in property development, the heroine staunchly defends historical preservation.

In order for a romance to really hold my interest, something besides the romance has to be happening.

Regina Quentin said...

I haven't really mastered (or tried often to tackle) switching POVs like that. It is a very difficult, delicate thing. I think I would try to give them both story goals. I was considering editing a current WIP to reflect this, but it has been hard to make things fit well.

Susan R. Mills said...

This is a good question. I think I'd have to agree with the commenters before me. It makes for a stronger story if they both have external goals.

Erica said...

I agree with Susan - great question. I don't write romance either, but I think all the characters should have some sort of goal, if not, why are they in your story? Some good advice in these comments :o) Good Luck with finding those goals!

Mary Campbell said...

My hero and heroine have the same large goals, but their individual goals are different. I think they need their own individual goals because they are not the same person and they have different outlooks.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Welcome back! Like others have already said, I think a story can come to life when you have goals for each POV character...especially when those goals are in conflict with each other! :-)

Maria I. Morgan said...

Glad you're back, Eileen! Taking 2010 as it comes, is a good thing! BTW - Love the look of your blog! God bless!

LeSan said...

I hope it was a pleasant unintended week off--?
I think it makes your characters each stronger if they both have real lives i.e. goals outside of the romance. That in turn makes your story stronger. I think that in times long past you could get away with one person's goal being enough but in our modern age it would translate as either pathetic or unbelievable.
Well there's a couple of happy words to end on. LOL
Happy February!

Terri Tiffany said...

I have written with the two POVs and both characters have stong external goals. I prefer it that way and then yes, they should cross each others' with conflict!

Jill Kemerer said...

Oh yes! They both need external goals. I analyze which character will have the most growth, then I begin and end the book in that character's POV.

Have fun!

T. Anne said...

I've never written in an alternating format like that. It's fu though to get to read both POV's. I like to feel like they both have something at stake.

Kara said...

I like the idea of both MC's having a goal. As a reader it makes me feel more attached to the characters and pulls me in.

Cindy said...

I usually have two POV's or more, but just one main character. However, I agree that you should have strong goals and motivations for each character if their both sharing equal amounts of POV time.

Dulce said...

Lots hapenning so far... oh my!

destrella said...

Glad you're back! :O)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Good to see you back in the blogosphere, Eileen.

While I don't write romances, in real life opposites tend to attract. Having a hero and a heroine, who are carbon copies of each other, is borr-ing.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I wondered what happened to you! So glad to see you back!

jdcoughlin said...

The book I'm working on now has alternating POVs and two story story goals. It's what works for these characters, but I think every story is different. Yours might not. If you're unsure, try writing through and see where things go.

Karen Lange said...

Hmm, I'll have to get back to you on this one!
Blessings,
Karen

Jessica said...

I know we're told both should have that ext. goal, and I think it's usually stronger that way, but at the same time, I've read plenty of books where only one has a strong goal, and it somehow affects the other. So I guess it depends on what works best for your story. :-)

Georgiana said...

Glad you are back to blogging! And yes, I give them both a goal. The story I'm working on now has their goals in opposition to one another, which is fun to play with.

Linda Kage said...

I think every single character in a book has their own path and their own internal and external goals they want to reach. What makes a books so good is when their paths cross and tangle together to somehow meet the main goal of the story. Really hard to do, but it makes a story really strong.

Natalie said...

I think every character needs some sort of motivation. Some can have smaller trials, but everyone needs something to work toward.

Julie Dao said...

I like multiple POVs, but it's hard to find an author who can juggle them without losing sight of one or the storyline. I think two is fine! I would love to know what the hero and heroine were each thinking about the same events/situations.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Lots of great advice here! What savvy bloggers.

I agree. For the most part, both characters need a goal, strong motivation and lots of conflict.

One problem after another!

Have a great week.

Sue

Elana Johnson said...

Glad you're back. And, uh, I don't know? I've not really tried my hand at romance, and I've never had alternating POV's. I think your question's already been answered though. :)

patti said...

Just wanted to say hi and that I miss ya on my blog!

I have no clue about the writing question and LOVE considering all the suggestions.

Patti

Tamika: said...

Sorry, I'm so late dropping by!

I don't write romance, but in my own work I leave the major turmoil to the MC. Her conflicts are what affect the other players in the plot.

I'm curious though how that works in romance.

Linda Glaz said...

All things are a matter of relevancy. I turn 60 next month and 44 sounds like some place I'd like to be. Just give your characters all you can. That's the best anyone can do.

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Eileen,
I love your blog and like your question, too. I would include the stated goals of both the hero and the herione but not the unstated ones. The stated and unstated goals might not be the same.
In Gone with the Wind, the heroine stated that she wanted Ashley. But what she really wanted was the land -- Tara. And too late, she also wanted Rhett.
Love,
Molly
www.mollynoblebull.com

kanishk said...

I'd probably stick with one or use third-person omniscient, but that's just me.

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