What Do They Want?


An important question when writing a story is what do the characters want?

I know what the main character, Hannah Robinson, wants. But the others? I’m still thinking about that.

And who is the antagonist? An individual? The Asylum itself?

I can’t move forward until these answers are resolved in my own mind.


2 responses to “What Do They Want?

  1. it help to consider the book as a sort of grand, sweeping fairy tale in its own right?

    When I was in college, the professor for my fantasy/SF class introduced us to the idea of “the body politic” as it appeared, in disguised form, in classic fantasy — and as opposed to “the body psychic.” I was about to try to describe it here when I suddenly discovered that I’d blogged about it a few years ago. Here’s how that post summed it up:

    Notice, [the professor] said, how easily and often the body politic of fairy tales maps onto the body psychic of humans, children included. By way of example, he pointed to the tale of the Frog Prince: the princess must go to a place supremely unappealing, even disgusting, even obscenely disgusting, simply in order to find that which is beautiful and of lasting value to her…

    I was never sure if that message was the message of the fairy tale, or the message of the professor. Either way, it seemed a message meant for children — a discomfiting lesson of life, which had to be learned if one hoped to find happiness later on.

    Can you see the shape of such an interpretation in what you’ve written so far — not the shape specifically of the “message” of the Frog Prince tale, but of a sort of common journey of the psyche? Because if so, then that might suggest the shape of what’s to come.

    Not that I have any specific ideas. Sorry. 🙂

    • Whoops — not sure what happened… that’s supposed to begin “Would it help…,” not just “it help…” You probably figured that out on your own, you clever person.

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