Today I will be concluding my explanation of the fundamental story elements addressed in my post entitled “Making a list and Checking it Twice”. The eighth and final point is the Goal.
As seen in my previous posts, the Plot is a series of events which are played out by Characters, who are working to resolve a Conflict. The Goal fits into this equation, as it is the central objective of a story which the Protagonist aims to achieve. One could say that the Goal serves as motivation for the Character.
REACHING THE FINISH LINE!
When initially introduced, the Goal will seem impossible or unattainable. This is to help create tension in the story line. Furthermore, the Goal is not limited to being a object. It can be anything from a location, a task, state of mind, knowledge or desire. However, through the course of the story, a number of obstacles will be removed or additional information will surface, clarifying the Goal and possible ways to achieve it.
Once the Goal has been obtained, the story enters the resolution phase of the narrative. The resolution of a story is when the action begins to slow down, all the plot lines are resolved, loose ends tied up and any required explanations are given. An important thing to remember is that a good resolution should keep the reader engages, and leave them with a sense of closure and satisfaction.
When everything has been covered, this is when a conclusion is reached. The ending of a gripping story usually has one of three outcomes: a happy ending, an unhappy ending or an unresolved ending.
The Happy Ending
These types of endings are easily identifiable; the main Character has reached their Goal, the Conflict has been resolved and the Setting returns to a state of normalcy. The Happy Ending is arguably the most popular type of conclusion among literature in the Western culture. Though it is generally well-received, the Happy Ending’s only downfall is that it has a tendency of making a story predictable.
The Unhappy Ending
The Unhappy Endings are just as easily identifiable; the Villainous character wins, the Hero dies, the Setting is left in chaos or the Goal is never achieved. The Unhappy Ending is an unconventional type of resolution that has been growing in popularity. It incorporates a plot with a twist ending meant to shock the reader, taking them by surprise. Though they are generally original and imaginative, the Unhappy Ending has a tendency to leave the reader unsatisfied.
The Unresolved Ending
In more recent Literature, an ambiguous or subtle resolution has been used over those that solve the conflict. These endings are left open to the readers' interpretations, making it seem like the story goes on after the book is finished. If the Unresolved Ending is done properly, the Readers will feel both surprised and satisfied by the outcome. However, the fact everyone perceives a story differently opens this type of ending to the risk that it will not be understood as the Author intended.
Nearly every form of narrative has a Goal of some kind, as its resolution provides a sense of completion to the story that cannot be achieved otherwise. Whether they wish to reach it or prevent it, the Goal should be the Characters primary concern until it is achieved.
I hope I managed to clear a few things up for you. Until next time.
(edited on 03-22-2016)