Writing as Wish-Fulfillment

People have wishes. According to Dr Freud some of these are embodied in our dreams, though since dreams pay no regard to date, the wish embodied in a dream may no longer be current.

Some want a lot of money and try to fulfil this wish by various means: seeking a job as an investment banker, gambling with their own or other people’s money, staging heists or using their hacking skills, marrying into it. A few succeed, so it is possible to fulfill wishes.

Some want a partner and are, on occasion, remarkably detailed about what they want of that person. They may meet their future partner at work, but if they don’t may resort to various strategies such as: going to classes in cartography or crochet, seeking what they want through online agencies, buying a basset hound and taking it walkies, using the animal as a four-legged calling card.

English: Bitsy - A blue basset hound

English: Bitsy – A blue basset hound (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But if you can’t fulfil your wish in real life you can do it in your imagination. I have only read one piece of romantic fiction, but I suppose one purpose of it was to fulfil the reader’s wishes vicariously. So in this branch of fiction, wish-fulfilment is probably part of the package.

But what if the wish being fulfilled is that of the writer rather than the reader? Would this mean that the writing was a form of therapy for the writer and, if so, is that necessarily a bad thing?

I raise this question because I have an idea for a novel to which this clearly applies. For the last twenty years I have been grappling with a problem of the mind and failing to solve it. In fact, by any objective measure the problem has become worse over this period to the point where it now seems intractable.

My idea involves a solution which I believe might work but would require considerable resources and is probably illegal. And no, I am not referring to drugs. As the narrative played out the problem would be solved, not in its entirety but certainly at its core.

I realise all this is too abstract to be gripping, but I can’t go into specifics since the mind in question belongs to someone else. Someone who frequently begins sentences with the words, ‘My brain’, as if there were two people in there, herself and her brain.

My own view of writing as wish-fulfilment is that there is nothing in principle against it. The only criterion, as always, will be whether it works.

Are there any well known titles in this category outwith the romance genre?

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