James Scott Bell says the following in Write Great Fiction - Plot & Structure:
"Solid plots have one and only one dominant objective for the lead character. This forms the 'story question'--will the lead realize her objective?"
When I first read this I was in the middle of writing my current WIP and had hit a wall. When I hit a wall, I often turn to my writing craft books to spark some inspiration. Well, this is the sentence that did it for me. I realized that my hero had a lot of things he was focusing on and one wasn't really more dominant than the other. It was too much going on and too muddled. I needed to figure out what the ONE BIG thing he wanted to accomplish was. It helped clarify my story and focused me on what was important.
Now notice, he didn't say only one objective period. Obviously, your character will have different smaller things they are trying to accomplish at different points in the book. But this is not their dominant objective. The dominant one will take one of two forms according to Bell: to get to something or to get away from something. That is the main objective.
So what do you think? What is your character's one objective? Does this help you or make your head hurt when you apply it to your story?