Writing Exercise – Character Desires

I’m continuing my feature on Characters with these Write, or Else Exercises.

This week, we look at what your characters want.

Exercise 2: What do your characters want?

Last week, I wrote 3 sentences about characters from 3 different stories. I described the characters as they appeared at the very start, before the major conflict of the story. Now it’s time to figure out what they really want.

Let’s start simple: What do you want?

List some things you really want. Not need, mind you – you could possibly survive without these things, but in your heart, they’re as important as needs. They can be material or immaterial – money, a kickass gaming rig, sex, a golden lager from the heart of Bavaria, financial security, love, freedom, adoration, anything.

Things I want (that I’m willing to admit on my public blog):

  • to write a darn good novel
  • money (who doesn’t want more?)
  • sex (see above)
  • travel and exploration
  • a good drinking partner (or coffee shop partner)

What do you want?

Now comes the fun part – what do your characters want? Your characters can want things that you want, or they can want very different things.

Try to think of what your friends and family members want, and also what people who are very different from you want. A devout Catholic priest will probably have a different list of wants from a Tibetan monk, so consider a few different people and decide which desires fit your characters. You can focus on one character, or list desires from multiple characters.

Things My Characters Want:

  • ________________________________
  • ________________________________
  • ________________________________
  • ________________________________
  • ________________________________

I’ll share my own answers with on Thursday. Let’s see some good wants!


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