My current WIP is a novel about inter-generational relationships between the women of a 20th century Australian family. I've spent countless hours brainstorming and planning the ins and outs of the conflicts, inciting events, changes of values and development of the various characters and their actions/motives, and yet I've just realised that I'm still lacking an external, overarching story goal. The entire storyline that I've devised follows each character's internal conflicts and journey to self-discovery, actualisation, courage, self-acceptance etc, but there is no external driving force propelling them on this journey. The basic plot summary is this: Characters E & C are sisters, born 1930s. E gets married, eventually learns she and hubby are infertile, she longs for child. C, unmarried, mistakenly finds herself pregnant at 15 (keeps the baby, faces major family/social backlash) and then falls pregnant again at 18. The second time, C and E make a private agreement that the baby (L) will be given to E to raise as her own and they will never speak of it again. There are many social and internal factors to influence C to agree to this, including her age, maturity, social stigma against unwed motherhood, finances, family pressure and 'keeping up appearances'. The story follows the impact this agreement has upon the various relationships within the immediate and extended family circles, as the biological aunt becomes L's mother and the bio-mum is thought by all to be the aunt. As the web of secrecy slowly unravels, the strain this places upon relationships (E & C, C & hubby, E & first child, E & L, L & C, etc) becomes a platform for exploring what makes up the fabric of family - is blood thicker than water - what constitutes sisterhood/motherhood, etc... However I am struggling to pinpoint two major things: 1) External, driving STORY GOAL 2) Final resolution to tie all the loose ends together, make the readers' journey worthwhile and demonstrate the change in characters' values or beliefs. Part of the novels' climax is that L learns the truth about her biological aunt/mother role switch, and she runs away from home - instigating a dramatic search that results in a main character's death - could the book open with her disappearence, and the Story Goal becomes the hunt to find L? This could then become the springboard to open up all of those old wounds, secrets, lies, resentments, betrayals, etc, and that is what becomes the fabric of the story? Thanks in advance for your thoughts and feedback!