A few weeks ago, I shared my Resident Writing Coach guest post over at Writers Helping Writers and talked about how weak or passive goals in our story can hurt us. Then we dug more into weak goals—how they can sometimes help our story and how we can turn them active over the course of a story. Finally, we explored how goals (whether passive or active) work with a romance or multiple-protagonist story.
In the comments of that last post, Anne Kaelber asked a fantastic question:
“Can there be too many goals (for one character, or for the story as a whole)? If a passive goal can drag a story down, will too many active goals make the story feel cramped, rushed, chaotic (or all of the above!)?”
As Anne alluded to, there’s more than one kind of goal we have to juggle when writing our stories. She mentioned story goals and character goals, but let’s look at the various types of storytelling goals and talk about how each type of storytelling goal might make that juggling act more difficult.