by Tommy Schubert
(cape coral, FL)
Question: After reading advice on plot, and realizing that a character has to have a clear and definite story goal I ran into a problem with my novel. My protagonist wants to uncover more information about his past, but my antagonist wants to kill him. I'm not sure if my protagonist's story goal is to uncover his past, or survive the antagonist. Is it wrong to have two story goals?Answer
Characters can have more than one goal. However, the story goal is the goal that affects or involves the majority of characters, and so is a unifying element of the plot.
It's the goal that the protagonist and antagonist are in conflict over.
At the same time, your main character will have a personal dilemma, an inner conflict over who he is/should be or what his approach to life/problems should be.
My guess is that, in your story, what the protagonist learns about his past, which is to say his identity, will help him decide who or how he chooses to be. Moreover, that decision will ultimately determine how he deals with the antagonist, and so determine the outcome of the overall plot as well.
The connection between the main character's two goals - inner struggle and Story Goal - is part of what makes him the most important character in the story.