FREE LESSON: The Amazing Power of Character Goal


Desire is what your hero wants in the story, his particular goal. A story doesn’t become interesting to the audience until desire comes in to play.

John Truby, Author of the Anatomy of Story

This is Lesson 1 of the NESA-accredited teacher professional development course: The Story Engine – Effective Narrative Made Easy.

What you will learn:

Character goal is the first and most powerful of the essential story elements that good authors use to plan and create the stories they want to tell, yet structure them in a cohesive, logical way that’s proven to engage the audience. In this lesson, you will analysing short excerpts from quality children’s fiction to learn how great authors use character goal to drive their stories from beginning to end.

In fact, character goal is so powerful, it is proven to:

  1. Boost reading comprehension: Character goal is proven to be the critical rule around which children mentally organise, comprehend, and recall stories. Character goal allows them to comprehend the point, purpose and structure of stories they read.
  2. Improve composition: Character goal is the guiding force that helps even young authors compose compelling, cohesive and logical stories.
  3. Enjoy writing: Children will enjoy writing more when they have the tools to create stories about character goals that have meaning to them. They use characters as proxies to explore goals they themselves want, or they can image others would want.
  4. Enjoy reading: Research also shows children better enjoy stories once they know how effective stories truly work.
  5. Effective: Character goal is the single narrative element required for children and adults to rate a story as “good”.
  6. Easy: It’s so simple and intuitive that even pre-schoolers can understand and apply it to reading comprehension and writing.
  7. Universal: Character goal is so effective research shows it is widely used across time and culture. Indeed, it is still used today to drive fiction, movies, plays and TV shows. That means you can use this narrative element to help children comprehend and compose stories of any genre or form, including novels, short stories, picture books, movies, plays, TV shows, comics and many oral traditions and folk tales.

In this lesson, you will learn two main things:

  1. How to teach students to identify character goal for stories they read and write. We will analyse short excerpts of two successful children’s books. These examples are drawn from the lesson plans, and therefore show you how to introduce Write Magic’s fiction reading comprehension and writing in the classroom.
  2. How young school students created compelling, meaningful and logical story plans – regardless of their age, ability and writing engagement.

What to do:

  1. Watch the video above.
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  1. Complete the quiz below.

Want to learn more secrets of Effective Narrative?

NESA-Accredited, effective literacy teaching

  • If you are ready to to keep learning, enrol now in the full on-demand learning course, The Story Engine – Effective Narrative Made Easy. You get age/ ability-adapted lesson plans and worksheets, colourful classroom poster set, teacher’s manual, 365-day access and ongoing tailored support of the friendly kind. Remember, if this course doesn’t transform the way you teach narrative writing, we will happily refund your course fees.
  • If you want to learn more about True Story Training for K-12 Teachers, click the “Next Lesson” button below. This will take you to the introductory lesson, which provides an overview of The Story Engine – Effective Narrative Made Easy.

SAMPLE Teacher's Manual and Worksheets

  • with age / ability-adapted worksheets and lesson plans

SAMPLE The Story Engine Posters (20+ Colourful classroom posters)

These are samples only. You will get the full teacher's manual and poster kit when you enrol in: 

The Story Engine: Effective Narrative Made Easy

Lesson Content