Writing to Discover What A Character Really Wants
Have you ever witnessed drama between friends and heard something like "The thing about her is that she just wants people to understand her and if she feels misunderstood, she flips out!"
Just like when you try to figure out why your peers flip out - Essayists try to figure out what motivates a character - they think about what does that character really want?
Today I want to teach you that when literary essayists are writing about characters, one way they make their ideas more powerful, more intriguing, is by looking beyond the obvious details about the characters to think about what motivates them --to figure out what the character really wants from other people and from life.
Let's look at Raymond Run's character Squeaky~
What does Squeaky want?
What motivates her to act all tough and prickly and defensive?
Share your thinking (see manual page 27 for ideas to help guide discussion)
(Teacher brainstorm on chart paper what the class provides)
NEXT STEP: Take one of the ideas and think/write long about it in your journals.
*Point out - what people want on the surface (a new car, for people to stop picking on them) isn't usually what they want most of all, what they want deep inside. What they really want is usually a feeling, a way of living, a new kind of relationship... It's human nature to want these things.*
Turn to your writing partners and pick one idea and talk about it first before they go and write long about it.
If you and your partner feel stuck at any point - go back and reread the story looking for more evidence for your idea. You will probably find that your original idea will evolve and become more complicated~giving you more to think and write about!
Add "Think, 'What does the character really want?' and write long."
Refer to the chart paper titled How to Write a Literary Essay about Character
Read the mentor entry and annotate about one thing that is really terrific that you could try and do.