Problems with 'Story Goal'

by Allison
(New York (Upstate))

Question:


How would I write that out? How could it happen and not make the whole thing seem like a joke. In my story, the girl originally has a goal of 'If I listen to this god long enough I can escape without being involved any longer with them', to 'If I can fool this god, I can truly develop my powers without being controlled'.

Sounds a little weird right? Well anyways, is the answer blatantly obvious, and I'm just unable to grasp it? I appreciate anything you can do to help clarify it! Thank you!

Answer: Two things.

First, the Story Goal will generally be something that the majority of character participate in or are affected by.

For instance, you have a story about a character who is playing this game with a god. My question would be how her success or failure will affect other people in this story world? Perhaps the goal is to change the power relationships in this world, or to obtain greater freedom?

Sometimes it's not that every character is pursuing the exact same goal, but that they are all concerned with the same thing. For instance, you might have other characters who are also pursuing freedom, but in different ways. And some characters may be trying to limit other people's freedom.

Second, protagonists are driven by a particular imbalance, problem, or desire, which can be fulfilled if they achieve the Story Goal. However, they don't always know in the beginning what it will take to satisfy that drive, and they may initally pursue the wrong thing.

Sometimes they think they know what the problem is, but it's really just a symptom of the real problem. And they try to respond to that symptom. however, the real solution, is the thing that will truly satisfy their drive by solving the real problem.

So, your heroine thinks perhaps that her problem is that she is trapped or a prisoner (symptom), and she tries to address that by getting herself released (response). But her real problem is that she needs to step into her power (real solution) because that will give her genuine freedom (real goal).

If your character really does change goals, as opposed to simply realize the goal on a deeper level, it would ruin the plot. It would make everything up to that point seem pointless. Essentially, you'd be starting the story over again.

In the case of Miguel, it may be that in the beginning he wants to rob a bank because he thinks the money will be the answer to his problem in life (lack of financial success), but in the pursuit of trying to save his mother, he may realize that his real problem is not feeling worthy of his mother's love. (Just one possibility, of course.)

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