Trouble with story goal 2
Thank you so much for your advice! You've really kick started my creative process :)
The dream world is affecting the real world in a few ways. It's distracting the main character and her friend from their real-life studies and relationships, it is wearing on their physical bodies because they are not able to sleep properly or "recharge" their minds when spending all their nights in the dream, and are therefore experiencing mental distress and exhaustion, and they begin to experience confusion as to what is real and what isn't. The friend becomes obsessed and developes an addiction to sleeping pills so that she can spend more time in the perfect dream world.
The dream world definitely functions as a contagionist character. The distraction it presents is distracting the main character from achieving her goal, which is to feel more secure about her future and figure out what she wants to do with it. The friend is unconciously using it to keep from having to deal with emotional trama from her past. And it's thwarting their mutual goal of succeeding in their studies.
This will have a sequel, or possibly become a trilogy, because the ending is left unresolved. The friend is trapped in dream world, so the main character and love interest must save her. But when they find her, it turns out that the friend also has feelings for the love interest, and upon discovering the relationship
between them, and in light of her recent personal disaster and troubled past, she decides to stay in dream world indefinitely.
In essence, she chooses not to deal with her reality, while the main character chooses her real world relationship and life. There is no convincing the friend to leave, so the main character and love interest head back to reality to live their lives and find a way to convince the friend to live hers.
I think I agree with your conclusion about the goal, but at the end of this story, it is left unaccomplished.
With this added information, would you still say the goal is to convince the friend that her real life is worth living? Answer:
You have to decide this for yourself. However, it may be that the goal is for the main character to become more engaged in the real world. I'm thinking here that the friend is the impact character, and the main character may be tempted to follow her example and join her in the dream world but ultimately chooses to remain in reality.
In Dramatica terms, this would be a goal of Present Situation - that is, she must ultimately choose where she wants to live here and now. The Consequence would be Contemplation (or Mal-Contemplation) - that is, an inability to correctly weigh up the consequences of remaining in the dream world and thus to become trapped in a destructive illusion.