Goal: Constant Obtaining

Question about a Story Goal.

Imagine a thief. His goal is to steal things—Obtaining—constantly. But there isn’t a BIG SCORE at the end.

Does this make the story goal: Doing?— As in “doing thievery?” —by necessity?

Are there examples where this is OBTAINING?

So what happens at the end of the story? Is the Goal achieved or not?

If he considers this his usual way of getting money (job), although by an illegal activity, I’d say obtaining. If he steals but not getting much, it might be like Marnie. Is the object to be stolen the story goal, or the thieving just his backstory, or is it a necessary skill for the plotting? Is the family looking to obtain a better life situation? In the film Marnie, she had an uncontrollable shoplifting urge. Is an uncontrollable bad habit a goal?

Sounds like possible Benchmark of Obtaining…

My question to you would be: What is the story really ABOUT for you? Subtextually, is it about stealing things (gaining/losing)? Or is it about the act of stealing itself?

1 Like

The Goal is not achieved. What I meant by “there is no big score” is that… it’s not like there is a bank heist at the end. The thievery continues, and there are more stakes attached to it, but it’s not like “do this one thing and we’re finished.”

This is what I assumed, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t overlooking something.

It’s about the act of stealing, which is why I lumped it under Doing, but I wanted to make sure.


I’d say as long as the conflict comes from the actual doings of the stealing… picking up the treasure, opening doors, running from people, hiding, setting up a trap, planting decoys… whatever it is that happens in your story…

… and NOT trouble with actually keeping or obtaining the treasure, then yeah. Doing.

Yeah, in this case I would always just look at the Variations beneath - do you want to say something about Wisdom, Enlightenment, Skill, and Experience when it comes to stealing, or do you want to write about Approach, Self Interest, Altruism, and Attitude?


Sounds like a poor man’s Steve McQueen’s Thomas Crown Affair.

Isn’t there a big score they’re going for at the end?

Well, he robs for fun as a game for him. He succeeded before, and he also succeeded this time but told her to bring the money, which she did not. The score was in the millions.

1 Like

Yeah, I was also going to point to The Thomas Crown Affair.

There’s no “big job” in it that I can recall – at least not in the remake, which I’m more familiar with. He’s just a thief who steals art for fun and loves the chase. The Dramatica storyform lists the goal as “doing,” which sounds right.

It’s been a while since I saw it, but I think the goal is pretty much just about demonstrating how good a thief he is and outsmarting the cops investigating.


I was referring to the original, which was simply heist preparation and execution. He flies away without the money but laughing, seemingly pleased with his genius at having successfully planned and robbed another big score. (imho) They had to be big scores or the insurance investigator wouldn’t have been involved.

This is true, but I think @MWollaeger was asking about whether the story builds to one ‘big score’ in the third act targeting something specific (like stealing the gold in the Italian Job or robbing the casino in Ocean’s Eleven).

As far as I recall, The Thomas Crown Affair doesn’t have that in either incarnation. He just gets them to run around some more while he’s escaping. The act of ‘obtaining’ something isn’t really on his mind at all, whereas Charlie Croker and Danny Ocean are both focused on ‘getting the score.’

No, after thinking about it with Steve McQueen’s TTCA, the big score in itself was not the goal for him. There is Robert Wise’s Odds Against Tomorrow film. One robber is addicted to gambling and needs money to pay off, one is a fired excop and one is an excon racist. (Belafonte, Begley, Ryan) and all have separate complications in backstories, setups, and SS is the film’s windup with all losing. But the whole film is about the big score.

1 Like

Yeah, this is right: I don’t want things building to a big score. But I do want “scoring” to be important.

I think I have figured this out, and ironically, this question has helped me in a different story more than in the one I asked it about! I wonder if it was in the back of my mind the whole time…

One historical novel I read had a wealthy person’s driver originally meeting him while trying to pickpocket someone, but the wealthy person’s horses got excited and were going to dash away over something going on in the street and this thief expertly dealt with the horse emergency for the horses’ sake because he loved horses and was naturally good with them. He was immediately hired.

That was a one sentence explanation in the book (a more expert writer than I … haha) A fun part of the book was that this driver could not help himself and items were occasionally rounded up from him by the owner and/or his friends/acquaintances through the book in different ways. Scoring was definitely important but not a buildup and just minor. Probably not as important as you are thinking of, but it was a clever fun way to move things and people along.

1 Like