More Than One Goal?

by Brett

Hi, so in the "How to write a novel" area, I read that there's a main goal. I got a bit confused because in most of my stories, the goal changes multiple times.

One of my books has 4 goals.

Goal 1: Throw an awesome party for girlfriend.
Goal 2: To figure out why girlfriend is ignoring boyfriend
Goal 3: For boyfriend to get back together with girlfriend
Goal 4: Help girlfriend move on from death of mother

How do I go about this?

Answer: So, if someone were to ask you what your story is about, what the point of it all is, would you have an answer?

The meaning of a story derives from how the characters try to cope with the Story Problem and whether or not they succeed. The Story Problem is a combination of Goal and Consequences.

The Goal can have several Requirements, which can serve as stages in the story. Sometimes as well, characters will pursue what they think is the problem only to realize in the end that the real problem is something different.

But you need a Goal for it all to make sense.

It may be that your Goal in this case is for the girlfriend to overcome her history with her mother and the main character is the protagonist trying to help her. Or maybe he simply wants to make his life with her in the present more satisfying. The smaller goals (one per act?) may be Requirements or stages in the process.

When you can tie them all together under one Goal or into one process you will make these various goals and the story more meaningful. It will all seem to have a unity and purpose.

One way to zero in on the Goal is to look at the Consequence. What would an unhappy ending to this story look like? What would failure be? The Goal will be the opposite.

Best of luck.

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