Monday, September 1, 2014

Wish fulfillment

Recently I read a book by Melissa de la Cruz – The Ring and the Crown. Nobody gets his or her wish in it. Everyone acts out of duty. I was so upset for the young heroes I couldn’t even finish the book.
In real life, people who never get what they wish for often become bitter, disappointed, unwilling to help others, in short, unpleasant characters. Their relatives suffer, their friendships crumble. If anyone insists that we should forget our own wishes and act only for the good of the community, country, children, family, … select one, this person is either very selfish or had his own wishes killed long ago by someone just like him. Maybe not all wishes must be fulfilled but at least some should, and we should fight for it. So should our fictional heroes.
Everything I said above applies to fiction. Of course, not all wishes should be indulged, and some are destined for unhappy endings, but some are worth fighting for.
My heroes fight for their wishes. Eriale in my novel AlmostAdept wishes to become a full magical Adept. To fulfill her wish, she must (1) solve a complicated magical problem and (2) lose her virginity. She achieves both in the novel. The magical problem she faces is grim and profound. An evil magician tortures people and uses their pain to increase his own power. She can’t allow him to continue unchecked. She doesn’t want to fight him, she is afraid, but she is the only one who can, for miles and miles around. This wish of hers has a price tag attached, and she is willing to pay it. Her other wish is simpler, but there are some snags too.
Kealan in the same novel wishes to save his people. He would sacrifice anything, pay any price to get his wish, even die if necessary. The fulfillment of that wish in the end makes him content, infuses him with self-respect.
Darin in my novel Eagle En Garde wishes to stop the fanatical sect of Cleaners in their quest to destroy all magical workers in the land. He’s not a magician himself but he is a courageous and compassionate man, a patriot. As the Cleaners’ agenda is genocidal, he is compelled to thwart their plans, no matter his personal price. That wish of his is altruistic, but he has another wish. He wants to be the best swordsman in the kingdom, and that wish is inspired by pride. Again, he works tirelessly to achieve his goal, and his drive to excel with the sword makes him more human. 
In all cases, the heroes’ struggles to fulfill their wishes serve dual purposes for an author. One, they drive the plot. Two, they make the heroes into people whose souls are whole. Unfulfilled wishes tend to gnaw at the person’s soul, turn him ugly inside, both in life and in fiction.You don’t want to make such people your protagonists; they are either losers or villains or both. Think of suicide bombers or the gunmen from the recent shootings in America. They were all unhappy guys, their wishes unrealized. That’s why they shot others, didn’t they?

Your fictional characters should get their wishes, at least some of them, eventually come true. And so should you. 

Olga Godim    


Big Mike said...

I will agree people read to escape from reality given few accomplish their full dreams. Many conditions can result in a HEA ending and getting one's dreams fits that need.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Even in real life most people fight to fulfill their dreams and end up giving somthing up for the privilege.

Beware of equating them to political puppets, especially in this forum. Seventy-two virgins might be too much for one bad boy or girl.