I want a 2012 Audi R8 Spyder. It’s fast, sleek and gorgeous. It’s the kind of vehicle that even non car aficionados (that would be me) take notice of and okay, let’s just say it, lust after. The R8 is that hot.
I really, really want it. But I don’t need it. And there is today’s blog point. Succinct and simple. Want vs. need.
This fairly common topic of conversation has been well-worn out over many a kitchen table as people face a new economy that has put startling clarity on the difference. The want vs. need comparison can be applied to every aspect of our lives. Purchases, food intake, vacation plans, cars, and yes, even writing.
Writers are a funny bunch. Give us an empty room and we will fill it with dastardly villains, high-powered women, and chortling madmen. (Or unicorns and bouncy balls – depends on the genre). We WANT to get a story down that takes the reader from point a to point z with lots of cool stuff in between. What we NEED is to put pen to paper and just go for it while creating a world that others can fall into.
What a writer hopes to accomplish depends on the type of arena in which it will be showcased. A science writer may want to tell the reader about a newly discovered star seventeen billion light years away that space explorers have hopes of reaching by your great, great, great, great grandchild’s eighty seventh birthday. Contrarily a science fiction writer will want you to live with them in a story that takes place on a doomed planet in that same galaxy while battling cyborgs and space junk to save the universe and by the way, getting to that star only takes eighteen pages.
On the want side is, well, you – readers. But the wants need balancing with the need. The need for the author of any piece, be it fiction, non-fiction, research, blogs, etc. is to convey the information in a format both interesting and digestible to the reader. How do things taste so far? BURP.
Wants and needs very often walk a fine line with each other. I want my story’s hero to learn the tango and fly a jet – but does he need to? Or am I just fattening up the story with unnecessary words to fill the pages. If my hero needs to leave the country suddenly and the only way out is relying on his own ingenuity, then he definitely needs to fly that plane. Learning to cut the extraneous wants out of a piece and keep the leaner needs makes for a cleaner read.
I am going to give you something that is a fairly standard given on any writing site, college essay exam, or self-help book. It’s a writing prompt, and a pretty basic one at that. You don’t have to be a writer or a college attendee to participate. WHAT DO YOU WANT, WHAT DO YOU NEED, AND HOW DO YOU GET FROM POINT A TO Z. Use it for your story, your blog, or your life.
Personally I know that I physically NEED a way to get from point A to point B. I WANT it to be in that R8.