Dreams. Ah, to sleep perchance to dream…
We all have a dream. Probably more than one. My dream? To be a successful author. (Debatable as to what “successful” means.)
“All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me. ”
― William Shakespeare, Sonnet 43
But I’ve been working on someone else’s dream this week. Namely, Adrienne Talbot’s. Who? Who is that? I hear you asking.
Glad you asked. She’s the main character in my WIP novel: Spurn the Moon.
As her author and creator, it’s important that I know everything about Adrienne Talbot. I need to know what she looks like, how she walks, how she dresses, how she styles her hair, what she thinks about, what she dreams about.
Everyone has dreams, and my MC is no different. Adrienne, like most people, has many dreams, but not all of them pertain to this novel. The ones that do are this: be close with her family, and complete a marathon.
Adrienne is an athlete, one that is committed to her sport. Yet that sport is not a profession to her, instead, like sports are for the majority of people, it’s a hobby. Working this “hobby” into her story has been a bit challenging. At times, it’s felt like a rabbit trail: making her have a realistic goal to run a marathon, continuing to work toward that goal throughout the novel, also keeping it from overpowering the plot of the novel, while working to move the plot forward during those scenes has been an ongoing challenge.
One thing that makes Adrienne’s sport a little easier to write about is my own enjoyment of it. Although I’m nowhere near the runner she is, I can imagine what it would be like to run that far. I have run a half marathon before, and it was hard. I imagine a full marathon is three times as hard, despite being only half the distance. I would love to be able to run those distances, but my knees just can’t take it. So I can use my experiences and funnel them into Adrienne’s training, the physical pain and the mental agony of running miles upon miles.
In Spurn the Moon, I plan to use Adrienne’s dream of running a marathon to help her bond with other characters, as well as revealing characteristics about herself that may not be otherwise developed.
What does running a marathon reveal about a character? Here are some that I’ve considered:
- The ability to set a goal and achieve it.
- The ability to develop and keep long-term goals.
- The ability to not give up when the going gets tough (as it does when training for any sporting event).
- The ability to better oneself through sheer hard work and determination.
- Maybe it also represents a 180 from the character’s previous lifestyle, i.e. they were fat and out of shape, but now are trim and able to run 26.2 miles.
- Maybe this marathon can also be symbolic of Adrienne’s other dream: to be on good terms with all of her family members. After all, life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
I challenge you in your writing to give your characters hobbies. But don’t just give them any hobby–give them a hobby which ties into their other life dreams, or becomes symbolic of them, or else improves (or destroys) their relationship with another character. Make their dreams and hobbies matter.