“I wish” is a simple, yet effective way to spark a story line. The answer attributed to any one character defines his/her need or desire for something out of reach or beyond his/her control; it identifies what a character wants most to become happy (or at least not unhappy) and sheds light on the intensity of his/her feelings. Wishes are, of course, a product of the author’s choosing, as are the outcomes.
Oddly enough, when I ponder on the “I wishes” for my books, I am taken aback by the realization that I’d given characters circumstances similar to ones I now face . . . a girl struggling to save her father from a monster poison (Arrow of the Mist) . . . another girl witnessing the cruelty of cancer (Honey Queen) . . .
In real life “I wish” I could conjure magic elixirs or raise bees that create enchanted honey as my characters do. In real life, I wish the laws of our existence could be bent. Relativity rules in our realm as well as in the realm of story—there is no light without darkness, courage without fear, gain without loss, life without death—but in story an author chooses the who, what, why, and how of it all. The author is the ultimate master.
I believe this mastery is one of the reasons readers love the fantasy genre—because magic always trumps earthly limits. As a writer of fantasy and paranormal, I get to wield my magic wand, expand the powers of nature, take wisdom from ancient myths, and be the unfettered mistress of the worlds I create and the characters within them. I can wield power over fates that my earthly self cannot. And yet I and all authors are not without limits—we are still humans wielding those pens after all.
Humankind’s collective knowledge, beliefs, and imaginings, in addition to our own knowledge, beliefs, and imaginings give us a great playground in which to create, but we still remain inside a playground. Inside our current playground, we relate to the challenges of relationships, finding our place within our culture, supporting ourselves and those we care for, our faith or lack thereof in a greater power, illnesses, dangers, rulers and/or laws we may not agree with, battles and war, losing loved ones, and ultimately losing our own lives. Every story written or spoken aims at dealing with one or more of these challenges, and every author wields his/her wand to show how their characters react, change, and overcome them (or not).
As a writer for the younger audiences (tweens through upper teens), the playground in which my stories are written remains the same. The only difference as compared to stories aimed at adults is the overall voice/tone and the perspectives of the characters involved. Tweens and teens might deal with relationships, money, danger, or the loss of a loved one differently than an adult, but they deal nevertheless. And they hope, dream, love, wish, strive to attain their desired goals just as much, if not more intensely.
“I wish” is a powerful tool in both storytelling and real life. I’ve had many wondrous wishes come true in both realms, and I am grateful for them. Their truth keeps me wishing for more, and perhaps one day those (seemingly) impossible “wishes” in real life will be met with a little magic, if not for me, then for others wishing the same.