Get it or keep it as it is?

The Body at the Bus Stop

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Sep 28, 2017
I have a couple of questions about your preference for particular types of story.

Most stories (all?) are either about getting something or keeping something. A detective wants to get the killer. The boy wants to get the girl. The victims of an alien invasion want to keep their way of life. A single mother in 50s Ireland wants to keep her children.

To attain a goal, or to retain a thing. Do you have a preference for one type of story over the other? Is one or the other more powerful?
Personal preference: Attain a goal. Seems more of a proactive, forward motion in life.

I wonder whether 'attaining a goal' makes a more outward, thrilling / gripping story; while 'keeping something' makes a more inward story. I don't know. What do you think?

Is there a third? Are some stories about changing something? Or would that be 'wanting something' - wanting to change.
I feel the fight to defend an existing territory is more primal even than the need to acquire it. Unless acquisition is a matter of survival for the attacker.
Masada. The French Resistance. The fight to save a loved one.

Alexander the Great was a disgusting spoiled brat. The great story there is how his men had eventually had enough of conquest, and just wanted to go home.

Sometimes too, the story is about a need to let go and move on. To relinquish.
I'm not so hung up on the goal of a story if it's told well and the characters are engaging. :)
At first I wasn't certain everything fell into these two categories but now that I think about it, I think you might be right. But I think there could be a combination of the two as well. Or, that you can divide these into an order/disorder type of category as well.

But I don't really have a preference.
Very interesting thoughts...

How about that old combination: Losing something, then getting it back?

Just came to my mind, because often the initial story trigger is loss: of job, life, loved ones, precioussss ring of invisibility... Then the hero's journey is about getting back whatever was lost, and his or her attempt to restore (keep) the previous, happy state.
I think you're onto something there, @Rich.
And that's a good point too, @Inga Vesper, "losing something, then getting it back" certainly describes the main plot driver in my own novels.
How about coming to terms with something -- loss, disappointment, etc -- rather than getting what you've lost or want. Is that a third option? Maybe it still comes under the heading of 'getting it', if 'it' is a kind of peace...
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The Body at the Bus Stop

Hello everybody