.On character:

“Another reason why scripts fail is that the lead character’s need, motivation, or goal is often not clear. You have to know what they want, no matter what it is or how goofy it is. And if you don’t care about what they want, you won’t be emotionally invested in the character.” [Amy Holden Jones, page 124]

This type of question always makes me wonder: what does my character want? I think she wants out of poverty, out of the incessant struggle for survival. I think she longs frivolity and impractical gewgaws. I just now realized this.

On raising the stakes:

You want the stakes, as the hero perceives them, to be as high as possible. … You want your characters to be at risk and have things of great importance to them to be at stake. [Michael Schiffer, page 135]

I immediately made a change to my outline after reading this.