Tag Archives: conflict

Writer’s Log: 2055 Needs vs wants

Every story told comes down to the most basic of themes:

Characters attempting to fulfill wants and needs.

(My wife actually personified the difference between a want and a need when she related her eighth Christmas telling her parents: I want a record player, but I need a wagon.)

I went searching for inspiration along this line of thinking (story telling themes) and I happened to stumble upon a comment about Lord of the Rings. It’s not exactly related to this theme of character wants and needs but, it explains common plots so well that I wanted to share it:

Thomas Munch: “I think some of the best stories have a mix of all basic plots – Lord of the Rings is a good example:

  1. Overcoming the Monster (Kill Sauron, Saruman , Orcs etc.)
  2. Rags to Riches (Aragorn to King)
  3. Quest (Destroy Ring)
  4. Voyage and Return (Mount Doom and home again)
  5. Comedy (Hobbits dialogue)
  6. Tragedy (Dead of Boromir)
  7. Rebirth (The Rohan king, the transformation of Gollum)
  8. Mystery (Is Frodo’s ring the One?)
  9. Rebellion against the one (Fight against Sauron)”

REF: https://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/basic-plots.html

Considering each of those plot concepts, every one (perhaps excluding Comedy & Tragedy) exposes that simple tenet: Stories are about characters’ wants and needs.

As I continue my WIP: A Touch of Red (a post-apocalyptic tale of a fallout illness that changes people genetically,) I’m trying to imagine it in various plot lights. But as the quote above illustrates, many plot themes can be applied to stories. So, really, post-analysis of any story might expose the the fact that stories fit many plot concepts and that the focus should be on the character’s fulfillment path of their desires and their essential needs.

Force a character to need something out of their grasp, instill in them wants that conflict or divert them from fulfilling that need and fill the page describing the tension between them.

 


We all wear masks

In the United States, Thanksgiving is over and most of us can store away the masks we wear for family occasions. We unlock the chest, rummage to the bottom, and tuck them beneath the yearbooks and faded photo albums. We’ll unearth them again at the Winter Solstice holiday (Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year).

Meanwhile, we’ll only have to tote around the two or three we use daily to get through our work-a-day lives. Flip-slip-snap! On goes the work-mask. Zip-clip-pip! Here we swap one out to talk to our children (or elders). Peal-squeal-kneel, we don the one we wear for our spouse.

These masks we wear, do we even consider them? Do we ever resent them? Or, embrace them — gathering them in droves as flavors of personalities we expose?

And then, at night, we sleep and our masks melt away while we dream; our true selves bubble up through the falsity of cultural-behavioral control. In our dreams we are who we are, our masks flitting over our faces like tissue — there and gone, torn away by our unconscious desires to be both ourselves and our un-selves.

How many masks do you wear? Are there those you find uncomfortable? Alluring? Disturbing?