The Goals of the Villain, Hero, and Mentor

The three most important characters are your villain, hero, and mentor. All three of these characters need to have goals of their own and the combination of these goals helps create a complete story.

Your three most important characters are the villain, hero, and mentor. Your villain defines your whole story and typically pursues a goal that will create Horrible Consequences if he should succeed. Because the villain’s goal involves Horrible Consequences, it’s easy for the audience to root against him.Initially, the villain pursues a physical goal with Horrible Consequences, and then pursues a goal that can hurt the hero with Horrible Consequences, typically involving killing someone the hero loves.

The hero initially starts out with a vague emotional goal, and then through the villain’s pursuit of a goal, the hero finds a physical goal that enables the achievement of the emotional goal.The mentor initially has something in the past that’s haunting him and his goal is to clear up that problem from the past while teaching the hero a new skill or lesson, either deliberately or accidentally.In “Star Wars,” Obi-wan consciously teaches Luke about the Force while in “Finding Nemo,” Dory inadvertently teaches Marlin about trusting others and trusting yourself.The three basic goals boil down to this.

The villain wants a selfish goal that will create Horrible Consequences to others. Later the villain will threaten Horrible Consequences to someone the hero loves.The hero needs to fill an emotional void in his life and can do that by pursuing a physical goal defined by the villain. Through a mentor, the hero learns a lesson to overcome his flaw and defeat the villain.

The mentor needs to redeem himself for some problem in the past that somehow involves fighting the villain. By fighting against the villain, the mentor not only helps the hero, but also shows the hero how to defeat the villain.

The key words to help define these various goals are Selfishness (the villain’s goal), Need (the hero’s goal), and Redemption (the mentor’s goal).

The combination of these three goals helps keep your story active and moving forward at all times. Omit any of these three goals and your story will feel incomplete. Include all three goals and your story will feel more satisfying by the end.

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