I received the following question on the Plot Whisperer Facebook page:
“I am currently rereading The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure any Writer Can Master and really enjoying it! I am however struggling with identifying my recommitment scene. The goal that is introduced in the beginning changes, should the recommitment goal reflect that original goal, or the new and bigger goal? Thank you so much!” Gisele
Goal setting is an important skill for any writer to master.
- Overall story goal tied to the thematic significance
- Scene goals to ground and make meaningful the action in every scene
- Energetic Marker goals
- Your own individual writer’s goals for you and your story.
Some writers are great at setting goals for themselves and yet struggle when coming up with clear, concrete and measurable goal for their characters.
Without goals, the story drifts and the reader doesn’t know what’s at stake and if the protagonist is getting nearer to what she wants or further away.
And then there is goal consistency: to ensure you don’t mention or imply a scene goal or broader goal only to let them drop without some reference to the significance of letting go. Setting a goal at the beginning of a story and then changing the goal as the character’s needs change when she enters the exotic world of the middle is fine so long as the reader understands why the change and that the goal upon entering the middle of the story is more challenging and difficult to achieve that the goal she had set for herself in the beginning.
The clearly definable goal at 2nd Energetic Marker the Recommitment / Rededication smack dab in the middle of the book serves several purposes.
5 Tips how to Determine and Create the Recommitment / Rededication Goal
1) The character acknowledges either consciously or implied the growth and change, the skills and rules, beliefs and insight she’s acquired since the beginning of the story. Her goal in the middle of the story identifies another crossing over, a letting go of what was before, a break from the protagonist’s former life. The goal that represents a shift in the protagonist’s character emotional development at the halfway point of the story can be big and dramatic and it can be soft and clear.
2) Her goal at the mid-point reflects her earlier goal by indicating that she has prepared mentally and emotionally (or so she thinks or fervently hopes) for what is to come — the greatest challenge so far in the story = the 3rd Energetic Marker or Dark Night and Crisis. The goal must be such that she can actively pursue it. At this point her earlier attachments drop away.
3) At the mid-point of the story, she stands between the threshold of two worlds. Behind her is her old life and the introduction of what is to come. Before her lies her prize, the actualization of all her goals, a new horizon of success and wonder (or so she erroneously believes). Her earlier goal is now better defined, clearer, has deeper consequences or has expanded to reflect her new understanding.
4) When she steps into the Dark Middle or the second half of the middle of the story, she lets go of all that has connected her to her past and moves into the great unknown (though she has little idea of just how unknown what’s coming will be). From this point forward, there is no going back, not that there was any chance of going back once she left the beginning. She may not have understood that then. Now she is all too aware of what she’s leaving behind with high hopes of success in what is to come. Her goal reflects that.
5) Though her outer appearance may stay the same (often as she travels deep into the Dark Middle, she’ll begin changing her external appearance in the clothes she wears or her hair style to signify the change and transformation that is happening to her character development), her inner life and beliefs and understanding are all going through a metamorphosis. The goal at the recommitment / rededication point in your story should reflect some of the wisdom or learning that has taken place so far in the story.
For more on the Recommitment / Rededication Energetic Marker, read Writing Deep Scenes: Plotting Your Story through Action, Emotion and Theme