Process as Goal

Question raised from Jim’s comment in the Coco thread…

Is this to say that the Goal, as far as the storyform is concerned, is just to learn (or not learn, depending on the story) rather than learning anything specific? What I’m getting at is, let’s say your characters say, “I want to learn x”, can the story still end in success if they don’t learn x, but they do learn y because the Goal is simply to achieve the process of learning? Or does stating that the goal is learning x mean that success only comes from learning x?

Hmm, let’s try to learn (:slight_smile: ) by example… What’s the Story Goal of The Lives of Others?

(WARNING: slight spoilers)

The Concern is really well illustrated by the “gathering information” gist – state surveillance. “State surveillance of seditious artists” is even listed as the OS description in the analysis. Yet, the Outcome is success so the Goal must have to do with another instance of Learning – one which the protagonist(s) were for.

I remember the emotion of the film’s last act better than the actual events, but could the Goal be something to do with everyone learning what was really going on, learning what the Stasi was doing to people?

You can see how that fits the quote from Jim. Everyone is embroiled in the process of Learning in that film. I think the so-called seditious artist characters talk about trying to get the truth out, but it’s not like this huge bullseye target the way Obtaining often is.

I don’t think Jim means that the Goal should be that vague. “Achieve the process of learning” is not specific enough, IMO. (I’m not sure if you were suggesting that could be an actual story goal?) In your example, “learn y” would be the Story Goal.

The Story Goal is an objective point, so the author should know what it is even when the characters are concerned with something else. It might not become clear to the audience until the end.

Notice Jim said “tend to”. I think it would still be valid to have a an explicit Learning goal with a Protagonist that was shouting it from the rooftops, as long as the conflict came from “doing what it takes to Learn.”

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No, it can’t end in Success.

Think of Wonder Woman, Steve arrives on the island of beautiful and tall fighting women. The Goal is to Learn that Steve and his ilk are worth fighting for.

Diana decides to learn crocheting her sister’s hair instead – humanity destroys itself at the end of WWI.

That sounds more like an objective Failure, then a Success.

What it really sounds like is that some Conceiving has taken place instead. She didn’t learn that humanity was worth fighting for, but instead got the idea that patchwork was more important.

In your example, not learning x usually results in conceiving y more important.


I spose if I had thought about it a second longer I might have realized that. I just get really excited at seeing potentially new ways to use Dramatica!

I didn’t mean for achieving the process of learning to be the story Goal so much, but rather what the storyform was calling for. As in, if the process of learning is what is causing problems, is it enough to start learning without problems in order to achieve the goal (even if that learning is different from what you thought it would be). So it was coming from a more conceptual area, maybe, than looking directly at the story telling. But after reading those answers and thinking on it for a second I think I’ve got a much better idea of what I was looking at.