Let’s see how many times I can use the word DESIRE.
Get your minds out of the gutter. Desire does not have to lead to hanky-panky. Desire is far more than that. I have a desire to author books and blog posts you all love. I have a desire for my family to be happy and thrive. You must think about it as chasing your heart’s desire. That is what we need to learn to write.
But first, my heart’s desire is a fresh cuppa and a nibble of monster white seedless grapes. They are amazing. My desire is to share a cuppa with you and learn to write about all the things a person wants. Grab your yummy, a napkin, and meet me out on the clean reading rug with your copy of Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood. I am on page 43 and waiting for you.
The Word of the Day is: Thank you dictionary.com
Desire [ dih-zahyuhr ]
verb (used with object), de·sired, de·sir·ing.
- to wish or long for; crave; want.
- to express a wish to obtain; ask for; request:The mayor desires your presence at the next meeting.
- a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment: a desire for fame.
- an expressed wish; request.
- something desired.
- sexual appetite or a sexual urge.
Like I said before, desire is not limited to sexual acts, but that is where our minds go. That, my friend, is not always a good thing. You can build an intensity in feelings and want without it leading to a physical act. Let’s learn how.
Desire is something that doesn’t fade. Let’s do that Scooby-Doo timey shifty thingy and drift back to your past. What was that one toy you wanted sooooo much you would do anything; I mean ANYTHING to get your hands on? Mine was sea monkeys. Yes, I now know they aren’t magical underwater sea people, but brine shrimp. I was 8 years old. Anyway, I was willing to do whatever it took to get these magical creatures. I mowed lawns, did extra chores, did my brother’s chores, even delivered newspapers, yes, I’m that old. That’s how much I wanted them. That was desire. It was something I wanted so much I was willing to do whatever it took to get them. What made you feel this way?
Understanding your own feelings of desire will help you understand the feelings of the characters you write. This doesn’t mean filling your manuscript with “I want” statements. That is straight up lazy. Saying you want something isn’t showing. Remember show beats tell every time. Show longing in the eyes of your character. Their willingness to do whatever it takes to get that one thing. It can be a job, a car, a puppy, even the love and respect of another. Let’s take a look at one of my favorite movies, A Christmas Story. How much did Ralphy want that bee bee gun? His eyes grew larger as he peered at it through the window. He sighed, tilted his blonde mopped head, and even licked his lips. He even went so far as to fantasize about how he would use it to become the hero in the lives of his family. This is straight up desire in the actions of a child.
You can do things that show your character struggling to fulfill their goal. Show them trying to speak without a tremor in their voice. Have them whisper when something is truly important and needs everyone’s attention. Cuz everyone will go absolutely quiet to hear what is being whispered. “…there is nothing I have wanted more than to be…” That is a strong desire statement to whisper. Then there is the dramatic move that screams “I WANT” like, Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch. I personally thought that was ridiculous, but you do you Tommy-boy. If nothing else, he showed his desire.
- Forget the big things, like money, life, and death. These are things you have little to no control over. Think about something you want just for you. Write one page about that one thing. That one thing that drives you to do whatever is necessary to get.
- Now, take one of those big things in life, like money. Write a scene where your character has the desire for that one big thing. Compare it to #1. Does it feel the same?
** You are NOT your character, but your emotions can help you make them real. Build better characters through your own experiences. **
How many times did I use DESIRE? The answer will be posted below.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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