What If?

What if you got what you wanted?

I ask this because I have wanted things only to experience that hollow feeling after I got them.


I suspect it has something to do with wants and needs.

The most fascinating aspect of writing a long narrative is the unexpected discovery of the characters’ wants and needs. Writing fiction requires answering two simple questions repeatedly: What does the character want? What does she need?

In our lives, we can dismiss these questions as we stumble along the road, but a writer has to answer them every hundred words. If not, the plot stalls and withers into nonexistence, and we know what the reader does when that happens.

Perhaps it occurs in real life, too. Not paying attention to this simple symbiosis may be a bigger deal than we all thought. I cannot recommend novel writing as a psychological or spiritual exercise. It is not easy and requires a lot of time to think and observe. Pretty reflective stuff it is.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this post. What do we need?

That’s an easy one. To be loved. A character’s needs are at the core of every story. Love is not a spectator sport; it requires participation. Whether we jump in or wade with caution, we must love.

Nothing is more simple than that.

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