“People who deny themselves the possibility of dreaming are doomed to failure.”
Recently, I have been pondering about the longings of the characters of my YA Novel. What do they yearn for, what do they want? And what are they willing to give up for it? These are the same questions we all ask of ourselves in one form or another, and I think it’s important that we look for answers to them in the hearts of the characters we create.
When I think of characters in novels and short stories that have truly touched me, I find myself looking past who they are or who they seem to be to try to understand what matters most to them.
Whether it’s Sidney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities, or Robert in For Whom the Bell Tolls or the marquesa in The Bridge of San Luis Rey or Anton Rosicky in Willa Cather’s lovely short story, Neighbor Rosicky, It seems fruitful for me as a writer to think about the things they long for. This opens the door to many aspects of a character: what’s happened to them before their story begins, how they feel about where they are now, what would bring them happiness, and what they believe the future does or doesn’t hold for them.
What does the main character in my YA novel Long for? Mmm…I need to focus on this. Here’s a first take: She longs to protect those she loves and to find her place in a world that is far different from the world she’s been forced to leave to fulfill her destiny. How about your characters? What do they desire and dream about? Write on!