setting the story goal

Hello, thanks for your advice so far, nice articles:) I have some idea about my story, about characters, plot, setting but when I tried to work on your 8 elements of plot, I got stuck on the first point - what the story goal is.


My story is about a young woman living during war who has to escape and hide because of her origin. She finds a job, uses a fake name and starts to live relatively normal life, but in hiding of course.

She meets a man, a soldier, and they fall in love, but love during war between a soldier and a woman in hiding is a difficult thing. They develop a very strong relationship - I want it to be about their love to a great extent. At the same time, suspicious things are starting to happen around her. She finds out that someone is repeatedly looking for something, obviously precious, in the house she lives in. Curious, she wants to find out what it is and who wants it (it's going to be a big thing, not just jewelry or something).

Therefore, if she finds out, she could be put at danger.
After finding out she would probably have to leave and things would change and she will be in danger (I haven't figured this out completely). What is the story goal then? to survive during war? To find true love in difficult times? To solve the mystery of the precious thing? thank you very much!

Answer: Don't take this as definitive, but...

It sounds to me like the story goal is one of Present Situation. The main character is in a situation which she perceives as very precarious and
which she is struggling to maintain. Your antagonist (the person after the precious item) threatens to upset this apple cart, so to speak, because he is concerned about the situation in which the item is out of his reach. The bigger picture is that the situation of being caught in a war affects all the characters.

As for the romance, I suggest you make the soldier the impact character. As a soldier, and a man of action, he might be someone who would take a totally different approach to dealing with a situation than the main character. Perhaps while she tries to adapt and stay inconspicuous, his instinct is to confront. Hence, the main character can experience an inner conflict over the right way to handle the situation (does she follow her own instincts, or take a chance and follow the soldier's approach).

Every complete story has four throughlines...

1. Overall (effort to pursue the story goal). The 8 plot elements are usually part of this throughline.
2. Main character (her growth as a person, resolution of inner conflict).
3. Impact character (the soldier, and how his different approach impacts the main character).
4. Relationship (the progress of their romance).

Of course, the other way of structuring this story would be to make the goal about obtaining. In this case, the person searching for the item would be the protagonist and the woman would be main character and antagonist (trying to stop the item from being found).

How do you decide what is the right goal? Ask yourself what the majority of the characters are more likely concerned about. Whether they are for or against the goal, most should be affected by it somehow.

Best of luck.

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