In your story the reader (or the audiences) should always make the decisions to advance the story in one way or another. The reader takes a leading role in the fate of the protagonist. This type of structure is often found in interactive stories, like video games or “choose your own adventure” novels, very popular in the eighties. These story-lines were used way before the advent of modern technology and have a rich history on its own.
Can a story have multiple goals?
A story can have multiple goals (for example, if the goal of the main character changes), although it is not a good idea to have more than one basic target or focus at a single moment Having a character that quits a goal to then find a new goal and succeed, is perfectly fine. Think of it as in the movie “Wall Street” where Charlie Sheen’s character quits his original goal of making money at all costs and then sets the new goal in saving the company he was ordered to destroy.
Having a character who succeeds, but that is defeated by the circumstances is also perfectly fine. And there are many examples of such stories. So make sure that next time you’re writing a happy ending it is because that’s the best conclusion for your story and not because you think it is the only way it could be written.
Points to consider when choosing a Basic Goal
– Do we want our protagonist to succeed?
– Will we challenge the traditional plot structure or will we stick to it?
– Will a basic goal be enough or do we need to combine several?
In summary, if we have perfectly defined goals (multiple goals are great, but a simple goal is also acceptable) the course of our novel will be clearly traced in the mind of the reader, which is the primary objective of a great writer!