Plot Goal

Countless times I read in the craft books and blog posts that story starts when the main character faces the Inciting Event. In response to the Inciting Event, the main characters set a concrete tangible/physical goal and this is the Plot Goal. The sooner the writer tells the reader the Plot Goal, the better. Whether the main character achieves the Plot Goal or not, is the matter of the Story Question (or Dramatic Question). Furthermore, each scene should develop the story toward the Plot Goal.

I regarded this definition correct until I searched for the difference between the character’s goal and the Plot Goal and bumped into this blog post

If each scene (or chapter) is supposed to develop the story toward the Plot Goal, many chapters of the first four Harry Potter books should be eliminated. For example, how does the Zoo scene in book one connected with Harry and Voldemort’s final fight? This scene has other functionality: it shows the reader that Harry communicates with the snake! This scene develops the character building, not the plot. Another example from the first book: rescuing Hermione from a troll. This scene, similar to the previous example, doesn’t move the story toward the Plot Goal. But, it shows that Harry-Ron-Hermione work as a team. So, their teamwork at the end of the book doesn’t seem to happen out of the blue. However, the scene has nothing to do with the Plot Goal.

Posted in PictureBookPedia.

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