Want vs Need

A video I watched today helped to describe the idea of a character’s want vs need.
This is a common topic discussed in literature and writing – your protagonist should want something, deeply enough that the desire and the obstacles in the way of that desire drive the plot forward. And your character should also need something… Sometimes this want and need are opposites from one another, sometimes one is achieved and not the other.

The video I watched today framed it differently. Instead of separate, potentially mutually exclusive things, the want and need are innately linked. Put simply: the character needs something to achieve their want.

Frodo wants to destroy the ring, but he needs to realize that he needs Sam’s help, after first rejecting him. This necessary shift in internal understanding for the character is then what allows him to go on and fulfill his core want.

It was a helpful tidbit for me, and a new way of thinking about it.

You should watch the whole video, it does a better job than I do.

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