We know to ask the obvious questions:
-Who is your character?
-What do they want?
-What's (or who's) standing in the way of your character's goal?
-Is this goal feasible?
The problem, I've discovered, is that in a course of a story, your character will have MANY goals. What your character wants in the beginning of the story may be different from what they want as you near the end. So how do we answer the big GOAL question? 'Cause ultimately, we gotta have ONE GOAL that'll encompass all of these mini-goals.
TIP: By the way, if you can answer those questions above, you've got the beginning of a query letter right there.
Check out this video by the Plot Whisperer aka Martha Alderson for great plotting tips.
Also, my lovely friend Mary Frame talks about goals and flaws that you should absolutely read because it's great.
Aannnddd, my equally lovely friend Mary Baader Kaley (yes, I have a lot of friends named Mary and they're all wonderful), who introduced me to WSE, has a lot of critiquerly advice over at her blog Not an Editor.
So tell me, how do you assess your character's goal/s? Is it so clear-cut that you know exactly what your character wants and how they're going to get there? Or are you floundering in the dark, like me, trying to dig into the core of the story?