To complete the week here, I’ll roll out one last post on this goal-setting subject. I wrote this week as a string of posts in one sitting. I’ve enjoyed working this way and perhaps I experiment more with this. Instead of my morning pages, it’s my weekly pages.

Two of the most powerful questions in writing: What does my character want? What does he fear?

In Affective Neuroscience, there’s a rat experiment to learn about motivations. The experimenters attached a rat’s tail to a spring and depending on how hard he pulls, there’s a reading of how motivated he was. For the first experiment, the door opens and a piece of cheese is in front of him; he runs towards it, experiencing resistance form the spring. His motivation for the cheese is recorded. Next, the experiments introduce a whiff of cat dander. This combination of a heaven and a hell caused the rat to become a beast, yanking on the spring. He’s super motivated and energized.

I think this is why these two questions always provide rich information. When asked, we explore both the character’s desires, his heavens, and his fears, his hells. We get a sense of what is breathing life into him.