Hero/Heroine -- What they need (A-Z blog)

So I touched on this a bit when I wrote about bad guys, but I wanted to give our protagonists their due. They are, after all, why we read as many novels as we do. We want the protagonist to win. Want him/her/them to conquer their demons (literal or metaphorical, depending on your genre and story). We want the hero to save the day, rescue a love, save the children, rescue the puppies...whatever it is we need our heroes to do.

As important as it is for you to have writing goals, it is equally as important for your protagonist to have goals. What do they want out of life? What is preventing them from getting it? What can they do to overcome their obstacles? Does their goal change at all in course of their story? What causes this change? What are their new goals? These are all things to consider about your hero/heroine. If they have no goals, how will they know what to do in your story?

Your hero has to want something...has to want it badly enough to fight for it, work on it, leave behind something to have it. There have to be obstacles. There has to be someone or something (or multiple someones/somethings) in the way...because the hero's character (and our own character) is built through having (finding) the courage and perseverance to "battle" whatever is necessary.

Imagine if the beloved hobbits had no obstacles. Frodo had to drop the ring into Mt. Doom. He flew there on a giant eagle, dropped it. The End. (Mr. Tolkien had a much better idea).

Characters need struggles to grow. (Real people do too). They need to WANT something. They need to have inner demons. They need to have struggles. As stories progress, these tend to reveal themselves, but as the author, you should have some understanding of your character's needs. You should know the demons they need to face and the obstacles they will need to overcome.

I am a huge fan of freewriting. It helps me in every aspect of the writing process. And learning what my hero/heroine needs is no exception. I start out at the top of the page...What does Arianna need? What does she need to face or deal with? What stands in her way? And then I write to find out. It is a fun discovery every time.