“I got your letter,” he said.
“Oh, that,” I said, and focused on the wall behind him. Ask me to my face if something is wrong, I’ll say no. Give me a pen and paper, I’ll tell you the truth. I’d slipped a letter under his door the day after he told me about the musician. It had included all the things my friends had said about him. It included words like unable, uptight, and humiliated.
We were the only two people in the hall. “I haven’t seen you,” he said.
“Getting ready to leave?”
I nodded. I’d gotten my Peace Corps invitation. He had one too.
“Can I come by and see you tomorrow?”
“Sure,” I said, and so my common sense got carried away with my pride. Or more accurately I gagged my common sense and locked it away.
In fiction a character must want something. To destroy a ring, find a husband, get back home. Characters need motivation. That’s easy enough. Well, not easy, but not as hard as giving them what they want. In the end they either get the goal or they don’t. Then what happens? In some stories, we don’t know. We get happily ever after, all is well that ends well, and sweet dreams.
In other stories, getting what you want comes at a price or turns out not to be what you wanted at all. Yes, I really must have that chocolate. …Oh, I don’t feel so good… Sometimes failing to reach the goal turns out for the best or crushes the heart. The writer must decide. Will they grab that dangling brass ring and will it be worth the journey?
I won. Finally. And I woke up at 7 in the morning to find him vacuuming. Lying on my stomach with my hands clasped under my chin, I watched him vacuum. He was handsome in his loose fitting jeans and no shirt, the morning light through the windows. He saw me and smiled. “Good morning!” he said, and kept vacuuming.
Really, I thought, being good at vacuuming is not enough.
So, in the end, if your character gets what she wants, what happens next?