Have answers to the following questions before you sit down to write your short story, novella, or novel. Knowing the depths of your work will allow you to focus your fiction and add realistic layers to your characters.
• Is the story one of overall growth or tragedy?
• What is the hidden, internal desire and/or struggle that leads the protagonist toward the journey (s)he must embark on in order to grow or disintegrate?
• How do the protagonist and antagonist meet? How do they relate to one another, consciously and subconsciously? (This is something, you, the author, should be aware of more than your readers may be.)
• What is the antagonist’s internal motivation? How does it constantly stump the protagonist?
• What is the antagonist’s weakness and internal struggle?
• What is the hidden, internal goal and/or desire that drives your protagonist from beginning to middle to end, despite all the obstacles?
• What is the internal struggle that the protagonist must confront in the form of hurdles that highlight those struggles throughout the story?
• What is it, that toward/at the end, causes the protagonist to finally fall apart or become stronger? (If it is an epiphany, how can you portray that realization through a series of actions?)