Story goal

by Carole
(Ireland)

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

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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????

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