In the movie Annie Hall, the main character writes a play and uses it to give his failed relationship a happy ending.
There are countless stories where awkward, nervous protagonists…perhaps courtesy of awkward, nervous writers…win the battle, defeat the villains and get the gorgeous girl.
An unknown number of web comics feature somewhat idealized versions of their creators, or are more accurate self-inserts…just with awesome friends or awesome hair.
Of course, most fiction could be said to have some kind of wish fulfilment element to it. Even a crappy, dystopian setting or horror story might have aspects of it stuck in there.
Most commonly, the wish fulfilment probably takes the form of somewhat idealized characters. They are more attractive. Or more courageous. They are more free. Or more successful in romance and sex. Or, once again, they have amazing hair.
Probably just as common would be the less idealized protagonist with the idealized friends, lovers, or associates.
I wonder if wish fulfilment automatically reduces the quality of a piece of work. Personally, I have no problem with wish fulfilment being part, even a large part, of a story. A lot of passion and emotion comes from the things we yearn for. It's the human condition, baby!
The risk is when the wish fulfilment is the first priority of the work. That can be a recipe for derivative, boring stories that are most likely only exciting to the Author. The “juice” that makes it work is the fantasy, rather than interesting characters and a story people can care about.
Again, for my money, fantasy is totally fine, and quite healthy - but one would have to be careful not to confuse a private fantasy for a story or stories worth sharing with others.
Sometimes, of course, they ARE worth sharing!
What do you think? Does too much wish fulfilment ruin a story? Or does it give them more personality and authentic flavour? Do your own comics have any elements of wish fulfilment?
*by the way, be sure to check your PQs for your Secret Santa assignment!
Banes at 12:00AM, Dec. 3, 2015
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