December 17, 2019
You know, one of my favorite things to do is ask other authors about their main characters and what they’d do in hypothetical situations. Yesterday, I asked, “If your main character found a genie’s lamp, what would their first wish be?” And the answers I got told an interesting story.
The most common answer was that main characters in books wish for things that would be beneficial for others or even mankind as a whole. Save her brother and sister. A cure to cancer. Ending the war. Justice to the needy.
Characters are an extension of us, authors breathe life into them and they represent the good and bad we feel. Sometimes, these are exaggerated. I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. Pure evil and pure good doesn’t exist too often in the real world, but in the literary world benevolence is often seen.
This morning I asked a similar question, “What’s your Christmas wish?” The answers I received weren’t necessarily greedy or anything, but they seemed to be more for personal gain as opposed to benefit others and the world as a whole. Many of the wishes I saw pointed to our aspirations and desires. Finishing a book. Getting it published. More reviews. Fame.
These aren’t bad things! There’s nothing wrong with them at all! In fact, I want them as well. Probably all the ones I just mentioned. I just find it fascinating that authors tend to write main characters that want not for themselves, but for the good of others. The most “personal gain” thing they wish for is to save/bring their beloved back to life. I’d argue that still is a selfless wish. As real people, however, we wish for things that would benefit us, and of course our families.
We authors spend so much of our lives building worlds full of imagination and life. Beacons of good and caring lights up the environment which might otherwise be dark. Let’s not forget this Christmas to perhaps wish for similar things to our characters. Health and well being. Peace on Earth. Remembrance of those who have passed.
So, as you’re sitting down for Christmas dinner this year, please spread some yuletide cheer and bring up some of the good things you’ve learned this year and throughout your lifetime. Wishes that not only would bring you joy, but would bring others joy as well. Maybe you’ll get lucky and steer clear of talking about politics.
Oh, what do I wish for? A new Macbook. See? I’m definitely not preaching; I’d use my Christmas wish for for personal gain.
As always, please leave a comment below and let’s talk about your wishes, personal or for all mankind!