Saturday, May 27, 2006
Understanding Better the Connections Between Internal and External Goals
As I take an extra week to plan my next novel, HARRY VS. THE TRUCK, focusing on internal and external goals, complications and resolutions (which, coincidentally, I'm also documenting for my last novel, THE REFLECTING STONE), I am seeing progress in increasing my understanding of the importance of both types of goals, and how they are related to each other.
I was very excited earlier this week when I was watching the season finale of "LOST" on TV, not just because it was an interesting episode, but because I saw a direct correlation between the internal and external goals of one of the characters in one of the scenes. The connection just jumped out at me, even though I wasn't thinking critically about the plot structure of the episode -- I was just watching it to enjoy it. This happens to you when you focus on the art and craft of story-telling. You end up seeing the structure in someone else's story, even if you weren't looking for it. I won't go into detail about the "LOST" scene, but it was an exciting moment for me, when I suddenly realized a deeper sense of the connectivity between external and internal goals. It's great when you can bring the two together very closely, as they did in that scene. It's interesting that there really was no new information for me in that realization -- I didn't actually learn anything I didn't already know -- I just saw what I knew about goals being played out and connected with it more deeply. My understanding of what I already know was deepening. That happens. I was able to think of my own stories, and see some examples there as well.
I am very happy that I decided to take this extra week to reflect further on external and internal goals. As I am documenting this information in THE REFLECTING STONE I am seeing the importance of planning for it up front. I am happy that I will start HARRY VS. THE STONE with a well-defined set of goals for each chapter, both external and internal, to help me keep the chapters on track. This planning work will save time later in the editing. I had a great deal of this in place in the planning of THE REFLECTING STONE, but there were a few holes, which I'm discovering now (see posting immediately prior to this one).