Does it really serve a main character to give them one driving want?


Developing a memorable main character is an essential element of good storytelling. One of the common approaches writers use to create a compelling protagonist is by giving them a driving want or goal. This approach, while effective, is not without its potential drawbacks. This answer will explore the effectiveness of giving a main character a driving want in detail.

Importance of giving main characters a driving want

Giving a character a driving want or goal is referred toas a narrative tool that creates tension and conflict in the story. This tension propels the story forward and maintains the attention of the audience.The reader has a vested interest in the character’s goals and becomes invested in the story when they accompany the protagonist on their journey to achieve that goal.

Examples of successful main characters with a driving want

Without a central motivating force, some characters barely make an impression on the audience. Harry Potter, for example, is defined by his singular mission to destroy Voldemort, which holds the focus of the entire series. Walter White in Breaking Bad is driven by his desire for money and respect, and that unwavering focus makes him a memorable character. Darth Vader in Star Wars wants to find Luke and dominate him, leading to the ultimate climactic fight scene that audiences can’t get enough of.

Possible drawbacks of giving main characters a driving want

There is the potential risk of making the character one-dimensional if the central goal is overemphasized to the point where they lack depth. It is critical to strike a balance between passion and obsession, because if the character is too single-minded, they may forget other important aspects of themselves in the pursuit of one thing.


In conclusion, giving a main character a driving want is a valuable tool for building a compelling story. The audience becomes emotionally invested in the protagonist’s journey as they strive to achieve their goal. However, caution must be exercised to prevent the character from becoming one-dimensional. As with any narrative tool, the decision to give your main character a driving want depends on the storyteller’s individual style and vision for the story.

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