Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Initial Goal

In journalism school several of my professors taught news writing like this: tell your reader what you're going to tell them, tell them what they need to know, and then tell them what you're going to tell them. Again.

What they meant by that was everything a reader needs to know should be delivered in two places: the lead and the end. Because not everyone is going to read an entire newspaper story - even if it only takes up 8 column inches (that's about 500 words, people). Some with read all the way through but most will read that first paragraph and skip ahead to the ending paragraph. So, we learned to write short, to write succint and to be a bit repetitive.

I've found a few similarities in fiction writing - specifically in the succinct department. And I do believe the first and last chapters are kind of like the first and last paragraphs in a news story: they both tell the reader the story in short form. Sure, in fiction there is more mystery - *how* will the hero/heroine overcome these obstacles? *How* will these two mismatched lovers find a happily ever after? - but we know going in what the journey is going to be.

That is like journalism, only longer. At least to me. And that first chapter really does need to sing. The goals and motivations of both the hero and heroine need to be there.

So, today, I want us to share goals - character goals. Go to your opening chapter and find a sentence declaring - even mysteriously - the goal for your hero or heroine. Not both, pick one...and share it in the comments! It can be from a published work or something totally new you're working on. So, lets get those comments hopping, peeps!