Story goal

by Carole

Question: I have written a historical novel, set in the late 19th/early 20th century about a woman's journey from teenage girl to old age. I may decide to split it into 2 or 3 books. My problem is defining the story goal. I have tried using Vogler's Hero's Journey as a template. It really is about enduring adversity and coming out on top but I can't state the story goal. It is a series of ups and downs requiring great courage and perseverance.

Answer: There are many types of possible story goal. Vogler envisioned a goal of obtaining (whether treasure, wisdom, etc.), but Dramatica describes many other types of problems such as...

Giving up part of oneself to become something else
Changing or resolving a situation.
Playing a role
Creating a different future.
Changing direction.
Remembering or being remembered.
Overcoming desire.
Achieving understanding.
Learning to think about things differently.
Coming up with an idea or plan
Finding out something.

What you have to ask yourself is if there is a particular concern or type of problem that plagues your heroine throughout her life and whether she is able to overcome it.

Another approach is to ask whether you have a happy ending. Do things end up better or worse for the story world? Does she end up happier? If so, she has likely resolved the issue that drives her throughout her life, and that issue will point to the story goal.

If she ends up unhappy, then it is likely the Consequence came about and the goal will be what didn't happen - the thing that would have made her happy in the end.

Hope that helps.

Comments for Story goal

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 01, 2013
Of course!
by: Carole

A light just went on in my head! Why hadn't I realised that Vogler gives only one goal? It seems so obvious now that you have pointed it out.

Mar 10, 2013
Western novel
by: Anonymous

I'm working on a traditional western novel. I have the title, setting and a list of characters. Right now, I haven't decided which ones will be main and minor characters. I do have an idea (based on the title) where I want to go with the story. Any suggestions????

Click here to add your own 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