What’s the objective?

by juliusmsanz

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself when starting your story is this:

What’s the objective? What is this all going to be for?

I’m not asking in terms of personal level, but where do you want your story to end, how you want to build it and how you are going to convey it to your readers. Every story has an objective, every hero has a goal they want to achieve. Sometimes there is only one simple objective, others have tens of them. But the basic still remains: your story must lead somewhere and must end somewhere.

Now this can go anywhere, really anywhere, you want.

I saw some of my favourite films again the other day and one that comes to mind is Rosemary’s Baby. And I’m sorry if I have to spoil it for you.

rosemarys-baby-poster

When you start watching the movie you see this nice couple moving to a nice apartment, and right from the get go you see that they have some objectives: Guy wants more success as an actor and Rosemary stands firmly with him. The success comes and they decide to have a baby. Sounds simple so far, right? Well here comes the real part and the true objective of the characters and the movie. Rosemary is unaware of Guy’s motives, she just assumes he wants to start a family, what she doesn’t know is that he made a deal to make sure he keeps on being successful and it has all to do with the baby. A bunch of stuff happens and now Rosemary has a true goal: she wants a fine, healthy baby. More than that, she wants to protect it at all costs against a cult that are trying to make sure the baby is the son of the devil. That is all very fine, the story revolves around the baby, and seeing it alive. But that’s not the true objective of the movie. The objective is all about creating tension and making sure we doubt everything and everyone. It’s very well crafted because while the characters had their objectives and goals, the story itself had an objective and a purpose. It wants to confuse you and make you tense and fearful. And you see the conclusion to both when the story ends, I almost forgot about that.

Now the objective could be about survival, glory, teaching something to others, it can go anywhere you like; but the bottom line is this: if your story doesn’t have an objective, if your characters don’t have objectives, then I seriously advise you to stop writing on it for a moment and make sure you have clear goals, otherwise your story is going nowhere. Even the most basic of stories have objectives, I’m remembering the video game Mario Brothers and all its sequels, it was all about saving the princess, it was all about stopping the bad guys. It’s such a simple objective, but it was highly effective.

The things you think up don’t have to be all that great, it’s more about the journey, the development, but you need a clear objective. When your characters have goals you can shape and bend and twist the story to your heart’s content to convey your objective aswell.

Well, that is all for today, see you again tomorrow.

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