Writing with a “Collective” Goal

By Melanie Anne Phillips

Some writers become so wrapped up in interesting events and bits of action that they forget to have a central unifying goal that gives purpose to all the other events that take place. This creates a plot without a core. But determining your story’s goal can be difficult, especially if your story is character oriented, and not really about a Grand Quest.

For example, in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” all the characters are struggling with their relationships and not working toward an apparent common purpose. There is a goal, however, and it is to find happiness in a relationship. This type of goal is called a “Collective Goal” since it is not about trying to achieve the same thing, but the same KIND of thing. When considering the goal for your story, don’t feel obligated to impose a contrived central goal if a collective goal is more appropriate.

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