As I’ve been taking apart and building anew in draft number four, I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions about story construction and characterization.
As I’ve been drafting synopsis after synopsis after synopsis for future queries, I’ve been seeking a lot of clarity related to the foundational elements of my WIP.
I’ve been able to buff up and clarify a lot of things, which has been rewarding. But I realized with a chill the other day that what I thought my main character REALLY WANTS wasn’t working for the story. I ruminated on the subject for a few days – chewing away at the problem in my subconscious…working on it in the minutes before I fall asleep, in the car, in the shower – and eventually came up with something good. Not just good, but consistent with the story I’ve already told. It fits like a missing piece of puzzle.
And now that I’ve isolated his WANT, I realize I’ve found perhaps the most powerful characterization tool of all. Everything flows from this place – all the backstory, all the current motivation. Suddenly I can sprinkle his WANT throughout the story in almost imperceptible ways. Suddenly, my protag is more vulnerable, more sympathetic and more real.
Hooray for WANT!