Does your character want something so badly it aches? Do they want something so desperately they cry thinking about it?
What are they willing to do to get that?
Are they willing to move across the country even if they really can't afford it? Are they willing to admit defeat and give up on the dream or desire?
At what point will they settle for second- or fifth-best because the odds against getting what they want are insurmountable?
Are you as the author willing to push them to that point and see if they break?
I'm going through this struggle in my real life right now. I know the point at which I'll break. I sometimes wonder if Heavenly Father wants to see if I break this time or if I can push to a new breaking point and not break.
Right now, I'm looking for a job. It's not pretty, the war that rages in my head every time I click through my links of various job boards. I went to a conference on Saturday that was not a writer's conference. This was a religious conference. One of the workshops I attended was on landing the job you want. Some 40,000 jobs created last month? That's great! Oh, but 220,000 new job seekers entered the market. Sigh.
At one point, the man teaching the workshop ran through a bunch of questions all meant to help us figure out what career we want.
Guess what my answers told me? Well, 2 things. Writer and agent/editor.
Crazy, right? But the answers were there plain and simple. You know what really stinks, though? The fact that there isn't a whole lot of publishing industry here where I live. It exists. There are some literary agencies and three magazines.
I'm at that point where I know what I want, I want it so desperately I want to cry, and I can't have it. The roadblocks are insurmountable.
Are your characters at that point? Are they headed for that point?