Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Link: Lead Character Goal Selection and the Preservation of Self-Concept

I really enjoyed this article by Lydia Sharp today. Her idea is that the first major goal of a main character must be somehow to preserve his/her concept of identity. I'm not sure I entirely agree with this, since my main characters don't necessarily do that - however, the concept of identity and its relation to a main character's story goals is really important. She also emphasizes that there should be a critical fit between the character's identity and the nature of the plot - they should be in the most extreme opposition possible.

Anyway, take a look, and you might get some good ideas.


  1. Interesting post. I do agree with her on the fact that the human mind will always try to preserve it's self-concept. I've always believed this, and when it's also reflected in fictional characters and their motivation, it makes them seem more real, even though it does so on subconscious, between-the-lines level.

    Even people doing good for the sake of mankind, or to help another without prospect of reward, only do so because they see themselves as someone who is nice or moral enough to help. If they wouldn't see themselves be affected by the good deed (Karma or self-respect, or even the avoidance of a bad conscience) then they wouldn't act. Just like so many people don't act in real life because they feel unaffected and don't regard themselves as someone who has to act in that matter. :)

    1. Yes, absolutely people try to retain their identity and self-concept. I agree with you there. Interesting thoughts on actions. Thanks for your comment!

  2. I think identity is always an important theme in a story. Two of the most important philosophical questions are always these: "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?"