Happy early Thanksgiving! In this season of gratitude, I am especially thankful for a Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with no classes to take or teach – which will hopefully result in some extra writing time! As we consider the blessings we’ve been given and the abundance we can be thankful for, you can also take this time to do the same for your characters. What a person is thankful for says a lot about them and their situation. Here are three examples:
- A character might be thankful for basic necessities. If your character is living on the street, he may be thankful for an overhang that lets him shelter from the rain, or a store that lets him sit inside and warm up in the winter. If she is living in the parched desert, she may be very conscious and grateful for a spring of water. Even when your characters’ situations are bettered, they may be more mindful and conscious of the small things they have that others take for granted. A pair of warm socks, a hot meal that won’t make you sick, or a bed that’s all your own might be amazing luxuries.
- A character might be thankful for relationships. Whether you have an extremely social character, a character who is lonely, a character whose parents died, or a character who is very close to his/her parents, their relationships with their coworkers, family, and friends may be high on their list of things to be thankful for. What will this translate to in terms of their actions? Maybe they would drop everything, including their responsibilities, if a friend needed them. Maybe they don’t want to hurt the people who love them and so put up with a bad situation, or maybe they care so much about the people who love them that they’re always trying to interfere to make their lives better. Alternatively, a character might take people and relationships completely for granted, if they’ve never been faced with loss or been taught to appreciate the importance of people.
- A character might be thankful for opportunities. A character who is from a small town might be thankful for the opportunity to travel. Or they might be thankful that they own their small piece of land so they don’t have to leave the place they grew up. Alternatively, a character who has been raised on the road might be thankful for the opportunities they’ve had to go everywhere and do everything that they’ve done, or thankful to eventually have the opportunity to settle down and grow roots. The son of a noble lord might be thankful for the opportunity to learn to read and write, to hunt and strategize, to rule justly and to be in charge of his fiefdom. Or he might hate it, and be thankful for the opportunity to run away and join a band of travelers heading into the unknown.
Knowing what your characters are thankful for helps you write them realistically and differently both from each other and from you as an author. For instance, while Alaric, the hero of The Quest of the Unaligned, is thankful for the training he’s received and the opportunities he’s been given to advance his skills and careers, his friend Laeshana is thankful for a supportive family who raised her to think critically and to do what she believes to be right even when it’s difficult or frowned upon by society, and the young ruahk Naruahn is just thankful for his magic and the ability it gives him to fly and transport himself wherever he wants.
So what are your characters thankful for, and how will it impact the decisions they make? Leave a comment below!