Saturday, April 7, 2012

A to Z Challenge: G is for Goal




Welcome to Day 7 of the A to Z Challenge

Many bloggers have chosen a theme for the A to Z.  My pledge since becoming a blogger is to post about writing, so for this event, I will being posting about what I've learned about writing a novel.

________

G is for Goal:  the result or achievement towards which effort is directed: aim; end.  (Dictionary.com)

Let’s face it, the entire purpose of a novel is for the protagonist to attain his goal, his objective.  In fact, The Quest is one of the most widely used plot patterns in fiction.  The goal is what the protagonist most desires and cares about, a driving force that motivates him, keeps him committed and moving forward. 

Every protagonist needs one, whether it’s a dream, a longing, an ambition, or an obligation.  His goal mobilizes him beyond the barriers that bind the rest of us.  It is the vehicle that brings about change, that results in the lead becoming a different person, most often a better person, which, in the end, is the whole point of the story.

In my novel, the main character is, at first, driven to free his brother from the influence of the Russian Mafia, which he is unable to do.  After his wife is killed, he is driven by the need for revenge, which in turn, allows him to attain his first goal and free his brother.  When this need pushes him to do what he otherwise would never think of doing, he changes, as does his goal.  Now he needs to make amends for the wrongs he has committed.   

When you start out writing, does your protagonist have a clear goal or is that something that evolves as the story unfolds?  

25 comments:

JeffO said...

So far goals, like just about everything else in my writing, develop as I go. I generally can't think far enough ahead, especially when I sit down to start something new, to know what the character wants.

Pk Hrezo said...

Hey Nancy! Just saw you have a publisher now! Kudos! That's great! SOunds like such a winner. :)

Susan Roebuck said...

You're right. Every protagonist needs motivation. It's where I hit dead ends sometimes, when those goals go haywire!

L.G.Smith said...

The goal is the thing. That's the whole enchilada. :)

Happy Easter!

Natalie Aguirre said...

So true the main character needs a goal. And it's great when the goal changes like your character's does.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

In both of my books, my hero starts off with a clear goal but along the way realizes that's not what he really wants after all and the goal changes.

Catherine Stine said...

I usually figure out what the quest is early on, before any official writing starts. Then, while I'm writing, I see more layers. I'm doing A to Z too, so pop on by if you like! (Catherine Stine's Idea City)

mshatch said...

interesting question! The answer is no, my mc does not have a clear goal at the start, it only becomes clear as things happen.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I think a fluctuating goal, that changes as life and circumstances happen, is very realistic. People who refuse to be at least somewhat flexible are in for a sad life, methinks.

Cindy Dwyer said...

I love a clear goal, but it's also interesting when lesser goals appear that, when met, take baby steps toward the main goal.

Carrie Butler said...

Goals definitely evolve in my story. :) Happy Easter, Nancy!

Sharkbytes said...

I'm currently writing mysteries, so the quest is to solve the "problem." I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

I usually know what my protagonist's goal is when I start writing a novel. But I always leave a lot of room for changes. And sometimes I let the initial goal become a secondary, if a new goal makes more sense.

Jasmine Walt said...

My characters usually think they know what they want, and then end up deciding on something else in the end. ;)

Grammy said...

I develop goals for my leading character as I write. After all, in real life we rarely begin a day with our goals clearly in mind, do we?
Best regards to you, Ruby

Chuck said...

NAncy, after this is over I will have to read one of your books!

Lisa L. Regan said...

Well mine usually involves a crime being solved so that's an easy one!

Sarah Pearson said...

My MC starts with one goal, but as things happen, that goal changes and expands.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

goals.. eegads... we're not talking hockey here, are we?

My heroine doesn't have a clear goal, other than happiness and a get out of jail free card.

Jaycee DeLorenzo said...

Can just finding happiness be a goal?

New follower!
My A-Z

D.G. Hudson said...

Goals are important in life and in writing. Thanks for sharing this G post.

I do my profiles on the characters near the beginning of a project, and adjust as needed.

Dropping by from the A-Z challenge.

Pearson Report said...

Hi Nancy - Great "G" post.

Generally, my writing is of a nature that it is already clearly mapped out before it hits paper (or my laptop) and my character's roles are fixed - no waffling after I get it out of my head.

I'm enjoying your posts.

Jenny @ Pearson Report
Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Lynda R Young said...

In my current WIP my MC starts off with one goal which changes over time.

michelle said...

Goal is the keyword - both in the writing process as well as real-life!

Nicky Wells said...

Heee heee, my protagnist thinks she has a goal, but I know where she's really going. Replicating fate (me) and life's learning process (her) between us. Great fun!