A while back I blogged about wanting, and how our wants evolve over time. The things we want when we're kids, we don't (necessarily) still want as adults.
Except, of course, wanting to have a hot fudge sundae for dinner. I'm pretty sure that's a universal want, never to be outgrown, unless you are a person with weird and warped taste buds.
A culinary Scrooge.
A gastronomical Grinch.
A *gasp!* healthy eater. *shudders*
As a kid, I used to daydream about eating an honest-to-God, full-sized, cherry-on-top hot fudge sundae for dinner, instead of the meat and veggies meal put in front of me like clockwork.
Okay, it's still pretty high on my list.
Sure, now that I can technically have ice cream for dinner whenever I gosh darn feel like it, some the sharpness of the want is gone. There's nothing quite like the thrill of the forbidden to hone one's desire, and if the forbidden isn't really forbidden, well, some of the ... let's call it "experiential pizazz" ... may be lost. But here's a secret: if you squirt a little extra whipped cream on it, that pizazz will come right back.
(Hmm. One could say that about a lot of previously forbidden things. But one won't, as one's children have been known to read one's blog. *cough*)
Of course, I can also recapture some of the pizazz by forbidding myself to eat the sundae, for, say, dietary reasons. But that contaminates the pureness of the want by countering it with a perfectly reasonable, albeit conflicting, want; i.e. I want to be able to zip my jeans.
(But whipped cream is better, so try not run out. Trust me on this.)
This whole WANTING thing is directly related to writing, too. Think about it. A piece of fiction is basically a story about somebody (a person, an anthropomorphized animal or alien, whatever -- as long as the "somebody" can be related to by the reader) who wants something. Love, money, a shiny new toy, revenge, salvation...again, whatever.
The author's job is to stretch out the agony (otherwise known as "foreplay") for the length of the story. Once the character gets what he or she wants, the story is over.
Unless, of course, the sneaky author has replaced the want with a newer, even want-ier want.
Now, for the ending of a story to be satisfying (to me, anyway), the character's want (and, by extension, the reader's want) must be fulfilled. This can be by:
(A) the character getting exactly what s/he wanted all along,
(B) the character realizing s/he didn't really want it after all, and getting something even better (or at least better for her/him), or
(C) the character coming to terms with (aka "getting screwed over by") life.
Granted, (C) isn't all that much fun for me to read. But there are those who find these kind of endings somehow satisfying. Masochists, I suspect. Or maybe sadists. The same people who rooted for Lucy when she kept pulling that football away before Charlie Brown could kick it.
So, what kind of endings do you prefer?
Come on, now. You can tell me. I promise not to judge you, even if you're a sadomasochistic Lucy Lover.
Alternatively, tell me -- what's one of your forbidden desires? And would you like a little whipped cream on that? ;)