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Holding Your Hero Back

What stops your hero from getting what they want?

Is it their society, their fear of change, the price they think they will have to pay? Whatever you chose, it needs to stop them from achieving what they want out of life.

Let’s say your hero has heard the best ham and cheese sandwich is in the next town over, and your hero loves ham and cheese sandwiches. So, what’s stopping them from getting to that sandwich? Maybe they have to walk through a desert to get there, or they don’t have enough money to buy the sandwich. Either way, the hero has at least one obstacle they need to overcome to get that amazing sandwich. Keep in mind the sandwich is only a want, not a need, but it is the desire for the sandwich that makes them want to start their journey.

Your hungry, down-on-their-luck hero must come up with a plan to get to the sandwich. Do they try to get money first or start walking? This is your hero’s first decision. Let’s say they decide to get money first. This leads to decision number two; how to get the money. Options: 1-get a job, 2-borrow from a friend, 3-steal it. Each one of these options can be a small journey. So, your hero decides to try borrowing first. Now, you make it impossible for them to borrow the money. Maybe they owe everyone they know already, or they don’t know anyone who has extra cash. Your hero decides to try to option one, get a job, but they aren’t really motivated to work and only half-heartedly try, quitting after a few people turn them down. Fine, move on to option three, stealing.

Is your hero a good thief or a bad thief? Can they get the money easily, but the getaway is difficult? Let’s say they bump into someone when their wallet is out, and the wallet falls to the ground. Your hero picks it up and runs. But the person who dropped it is in a gang, and now the whole gang is chasing your hero!

By giving your hero a flaw (poverty), a want (the sandwich), and obstacles that hold your hero back, you can create a series of events that evolve into a story, a quest.

What holds your hero back from getting what they want?

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