What does the character need? Unlike the want, which the character is very aware of, the need is the thing that they are unaware of, the thing that is necessary for them to achieve in order to grow and reach the culminationof their arc (something we will address next time). The need is important because it teaches the reader about the qualities that are essential to surviving in the world, but only if the character almost doesn’t survive. We will look at this idea of danger and its importance in questions #6, #9 and #10 to come.
Survival may not be literal—it can translate to: the things one needs to be happy or succeed at a certain quest. It can also translate to: the qualities one needs to be a better person, such as self-love, courage, kindness, the ability to face the truth, etc. In MOCKINGBIRD Scout’s need is to develop compassion as a way to address the inequities in the world.
If you are writing an anti-hero, they may not ever find what they need. However, we, as the reader, may come to understand, through the character's actions, the importance of the qualities or traits that he or she never achieves.