A story is bound to have more than one character, maybe many. This is where the plot can become rather entangled because every character has a need or desire. No matter how well characters get along their needs and desires may not be the same, and even if they are it can still cause conflict. A cause gives a character a purpose, and helps them develop giving more depth their personality. Different causes have different priorities, and lead in many directions. These can take a situation on a new path, or provide great confusion.
Characters with a Cause
The greatest difficulty with creating causes is twofold. For example of the big bad villain only has one cause then there is a danger that the character will not have enough depth. Then there are the many characters that on the surface appear to be friendly, and may well have the best intentions. Add in a cause and somewhere along the line something is bound to go astray. By far the biggest headache that I tend to blame on writer’s block has involved dealing with many causes at once. When three or more characters that have been the best of friends, have competing causes. It is around this time that confusion settles in, and the conflict begins.
The Great Misunderstanding
Once you know the needs and desires of your characters then these can open up so many opportunities to have fun. Misinterpretations can bring a whole new depth to the story, and lead to many small disasters. Even with the greatest amount of planning there are times when characters will lead a story. This has more to do with the character choosing to stay with their cause. There have been moments when I have been surprised by what a character chooses based on who they are. The greatest moment of surprise changed the ending for my second book. In hindsight it added more depth to the story, and I understood more about the character than I thought I knew. So don’t be afraid to let your characters be who they are.