Every story comes down to just one thing. Know what it is? Conflict’s a good guess (“no conflict, no story” and all that), but before a story can offer conflict, it has to first offer something else: desire. In short, story is always going to be about a character’s goal.
In previous posts, we’ve talked about your character’s two conflicting goals, based on the Thing He Needs and the Thing He Wants. Between them, these two desires drive your entire story, pushing and pulling your protagonist and the people around him until they end up in a completely different place from that in which they began the story.
But here’s another question for you: Does it matter what your character wants?
Obviously, a character’s goal has to tie into the plot in a logical way. But there’s more. In order to resonate deeply with your very human audience, your character’s goal needs to be one of five specific things.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Why It Matters to Authors