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.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero