story goal

Hi, I am sorting my story and the characters. But I have a little problem. My novel is going to be about a few protagonists with a separate lives from others but every one of them is going to change story of others with their goals. Now, isn't it bad that there are actually more goals than one because of more characters?


Answer: What would help unify your story is if each of the character's goals could be seen as aspects of one overall goal.

To take an obvious example, consider the film Love, Actually. This film consists of many separate stories about a group of characters who are connected to each other very marginally. They live in the same city, and some of them know each other, but that's it.

All of them are pursuing love, but in many different ways. Many types of love are explored: romantic, familial, friendship, love triangles, unrequited love etc. But love is the story goal that connects all these characters.

Or consider the film Casablanca. In that film, most of the characters are trying to escape Casablanca because that represents freedom. They are trying to get the right papers, money, contacts, favours etc. that will let them leave. However, the main character, Richard, isn't trapped by any of these. He's trapped by unresolved emotions regarding the woman who jilted him years ago. So his problem seems quite different, yet it is still an aspect of the overall story goal, which is freedom.

For that matter, even the villain in the story, the Nazi Major, is seeking freedom, though in his case it is the freedom for his soldiers to march into every city in the world as conquerors.

If you don't have an overall story goal that unites your characters, you run the risk that your book will seem to have no point. Readers may shake their heads wondering what it's all about.

But link these characters thematically with a overall story goal, even if it is not stated, and readers will see how all the different sub-goals fit together.

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