I was speaking with J.W. Manus about my WIP and she asked me this question regarding my main character–
“What does he want?”
I gave her an answer, but she asked,
“What does he really want?”
I gave her another answer and she asked,
“But what does he really really want?”
And then she had to leave our chat to take care of her mini-minion.
But she left me with that hanging question, kind of like a hanging glacier or a dangling participle. It nagged at me.
What does he want?
Last night as I worked on the book I realized there is no single answer to the question. What my protagonist wants changes as the situation changes. He finds himself stuck in circumstances beyond his control. When others change the rules of the game, so to speak, what he wants changes accordingly.
It’s like football. I’m a big fan of the Read-Option. Colin Kaepernik of the San Francisco 49ers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks (Superbowl champs) play the Read-Option. R.G. III of the Washington Redskins ain’t so bad either.
So the question becomes– What does the quarterback want? To avoid the sack. To connect with his receiver. To hand off successfully. To run the ball. To beat the defense. Using every option available to him, knowing some really big nasty adrenaline-fueled guys are on the line of scrimmage waiting for an opportunity to crush him. So I guess the answer is what the quarterback wants is to slip out of their grasp, remain elusive. He wants to keep them guessing, but he knows they might crush him anyway.
But in the end he wants to win.
I have a general outline. I know where this story is going, how it will end. But the middle is interesting. My characters are making adjustments after every single play. My protagonist and his sidekick, for lack of a better word, must play the Read-Option if they are to have any chance of beating the bigger guys on the other side of the line. If they want to survive, what they want will change from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute.
If I ever realize one single answer to Jaye’s question, I’ll let you know.