Goals: Empower Your Writing Aspirations And Dreams

Goals: Empower Your Writing Aspirations And DreamsI remember back when I was in grade seven, being forced to sit at my desk and think about what to achieve during that school year. Each year, until twelfth grade, we had to fill out a goals form. I hated doing those forms. I’d rather work on an essay. It wasn’t until after I graduated from high school that I realized how vital aspiration is in life.

Goals are incredibly important in getting what you want out of life. For writers, goals for our writing are more than just important; they’re life. Without these aspirations, we have no motivation. We grow lazy and directionless. We accomplish nothing. Our personal and professional world closes in around us. We stop writing, which as a writer you know is a little like death.

I have been writing for a good chunk of my life but I had never submitted my writing to publishers. I’d never shared my writing with anyone. I write and then put it aside, in a draw, forgotten. Later I’d stumble on something I’d written months or even years before and wonder why I wrote at all.

One day my mother found something I’d written. After reading it, she asked me why I never tried to have my work published. I blinked with surprised. To be honest, it had never occurred to me. I never considered it. I’d never even thought of doing so. She suggested I make publication a goal of mine, and I did.

Goals can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. It all depends on who you are and what you want to achieve. I find many short-term goals helps me along the way to my main long-term goal. You know what, let’s do this together. Create a goal for your writing life, right now, with me.

First we need a main long-term goal. Mine is to:

  • Publish and produce screenplays.

Notepad with Goal ListBreaking this down into smaller short term goals I started with:

  1. Find an idea that excites me.
  2. Write the story.
  3. FINISH that story. – This is a tricky one for me because I tend to start many stories but rarely finish any.
  4. Edit and polish that story. – Editing not my forte.

These goals continue leading to the final to publication and production of my work.

Goal setting in this way might not work for you but it gives you an idea of how to begin planning ahead and setting the course for your own writing future. Your dreams and aspirations do not have to be elaborate. Some can be very easy to attain while others require more effort. Accomplishing a simple milestone makes me feel like I’m leaping towards the future I want for myself.

Whatever you’re striving to achieve, make sure to set your goals, write them down and place them where you will see them every day. Repeatedly reminding yourself of what you want to accomplish helps you focus and can increase your motivation. Go for it!

What writing-related aspirations do you have? What smaller goals and milestones do you create on the way to your primary goals?

Photo Credit: 07-11-08 © Michael Krinke
Image Credit: 08-05-09 © porcorex

SG1 Series Part Two: Character Development

Characters are an elemental part of every story. An intriguing plot with a good story-arc is important but without approachable characters your story will never connect with an audience. Readers need characters. Characters are the socket for your stories power supply. It is through your characters that readers can plug into the plot and experience the life of your story.

The Stargate series introduces a multitude of characters in various stages and of differing quality and consideration. Some play bit parts as extras or body count but others grow into the story, we come to love them or hate them, we come to care for the part they play in the story, their injuries and deaths bring anguish and grief or heartfelt cheers.

SG1 – Jack, Daniel, Sam and Teal’c

The original SG1 is a team of four diverse characters. Their differences create an initial challenge; they struggle as a unit until they learn to use each others strengths to counter their own weaknesses. It shows the importance of bringing opposites together. These characters are unique in their own fields. It is their united purposes, each individual to their character, which brings them together. A bond is formed that gives this eclectic community a solid friendship. We see the bond develop and grow with the characters as the series progresses.

It is important to blend characters but avoid carbon copies. Each character should be unique and individual. Distinguish them with separate goals, established histories, areas of interest and technique.

The SGC and General Hammond

The Stargate Command is an entity in its own right. It is actually a collection of individuals that work in regulated ways to create a standardized base of operations. There are many faceless characters lead by the General. Most of the time we don’t connect with these individuals but General Hammond represents the unity. His personality molds the actions of the SGC.

Larger forces need a strong head character to represent their interests. Armies can seem like a long column of faceless men but a charismatic leader will show a distinguishing command of his forces. Each of his men is ultimately the voice of this man and a solid leader is one whose men will lay down their own lives to support the orders he puts forth. This is true of the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ guys.

The Goa’uld

While the Goa’uld are a nasty bunch in their own right they are an ideal antagonist. They aren’t evil. They have solid reasoning and a collection of emotional reactions that allow readers to associate with them. The Goa’uld act entirely out of an arrogant sense of self preservation and domination. As a people (um… symbiotic race) they act with rational, intelligent thought. They are challenging but not insurmountable.

Antagonists should be normal people. You can create more impact with a sympathetic antagonist then with a diabolical freak. If a reader can see themselves in a protagonist you have a good story but if readers can see themselves to some small degree in the antagonist then you have a charged situation that will keep a reader tied to the outcome.

There are many more characters involved in the Stargate series. Each new person (or group of people) is shown in snippets. Base motivations appear and personality traits are revealed but characters always have an element that remains unseen. It is impossible to know everything and it is important that characters can still do something unexpected or unpredictable.

Over time, we get to know the main characters. Their own personal stories are revealed and delved into. The primary characters are challenged with personal situations forcing them to make choices that distinguish them. Whole episodes play a vital role in adding depth to these characters and introduce situations that push their qualities forward.

  • Use time in your story to slowly reveal your characters.
  • Allow their actions and reactions to portray the depth of their beliefs and desires.
  • Each scene should use your characters strengths and weaknesses.
  • 3D characters have sides we cannot see.
  • A characters relationships reveal vital clues to their personality.
  • Characters always continue to grow and change based on the situations that occur in each moment of their lives.

Finally, just because your story has reached ‘The End’ does not mean your characters have. Characters should still be imperfect in the final scene. Their growth remains incomplete. Some of your characters may have died but most will live on beyond your closing paragraph and while they began at one point and progressed to another in this story there should always be another world to save, another enemy to fight, another day to live and another dream to follow.

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