So far, we’ve covered our hero’s goal and desire, he’s calculated cost verses reward and he’s made his attempt to achieve his goal. And… he failed.
So, in the example of Dragon Slayer the Third, what makes him go back again to try to win true love? Let’s say he’s realized he needs an heir to the throne or when he dies his evil cousin becomes King. DS the Third has given his life for his kingdom and it’s people. He doesn’t want them subject to evil King cousin.
He wants an heir. However, he doesn’t want a marriage of convenience. Ah, now we’ve upped the stakes. If he wanted just an heir, he’d take any of the lovely damsel’s prostrating themselves before him.
DS the Third wants real love, a child of love who will grow in love.
His first attempt was frivolous and failed. Now, he regroups and makes a second attempt. In the mean time, he meets a beautiful, sweet, humble young woman. His heart is awakened. She agrees to dine with him, but cancels last minute.
With the taste of victory in his mouth, DS throws a Fancy Ball and invites all the single women of his kingdom in order to make a second attempt at true love and for the humble woman his heart desires.
Think about your protagonist in this light. Perhaps you’re well into your story, that’s fine! Now is the time to see if you’ve add or missed some of these elements.
In The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne is on the run, trying to discover who he is. Not only that, he quickly finds out he’s being chased. He picks up a girl Marie to drive him to safety.
We get the feeling Bourne is a loner who doesn’t want to be alone. He pays Marie to drive him to France, but once they are there, she’s free to go.
I think Marie’s the character here who has a taste of desire. Who is this man? He’s exciting, he’s vulnerable. She’s intrigued as much as she’s afraid. Marie’s second attempt to free herself from him is thwarted when Bourne looks at her right before a car scene and says, “Are you in or are you out.”
Maria has to decide if the cost (her life maybe) is worth the reward (discovering the heart of this man.)
She sets aside her caution and fear to stay with him. We witness her character’s growth and change.
Most of the time, I don’t discover all of these elements until I’m well into the book. But, it’s a great benefit to keep them in mind as you plot and as you write.