Breaking News

Camp Care Package #3: Figure out what your characters want.

Author Kirstin Chen is your Camp Counselor this week. Find all Camp Care Packages in Breaking News throughout the month of July, or learn more about Camp NaNoWriMo!

When I’m feeling really stuck and simply don’t have the slightest idea about what should happen next, I go back to the basics and ask myself: What is this character’s overarching desire? What do they want in this particular scene? What is standing in their way? How far would they go to get what they want? Answering these questions often helps me find a way to keep going.

Today's Writing Dare

Before you write your next scene, take five minutes to answer the following questions for ALL the characters in it (not just your main character). Everyone wants something, and figuring out what that is will add depth and tension to your scene!

  1. What do they want right now? (It could be as simple as an ice cream cone or as complicated as total world domination!)

  2. What's standing in their way? (A parent? Money? The hero? An avalanche?)

  3. How far will they go to get what they want? (Will they lie? Will they risk their life???)

What's up at Camp?

  • On the blog: Add a new character to your story with our Character Generator.

  • On the blog: Try this easy activity to write without your Evil Inner Editor.
  • Check out the Camp NaNoWriMo Calendar to stay up to date on what's happening, including Virtual Write-Ins every Monday at 1 P.M. Pacific!

author photo

Kirstin Chen’s new novel, Bury What We Cannot Take, has been named a Most Anticipated Upcoming Book by Electric Literature, The Millions, The Rumpus, Harper’s Bazaar, and InStyle, among others. She is also the author of Soy Sauce for Beginners. She was the fall 2017 NTU-NAC National Writer in Residence in Singapore, and has received awards from the Steinbeck Fellows Program, Sewanee, Hedgebrook, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. Born and raised in Singapore, she currently resides in San Francisco. Visit her at

View All Breaking News