Addictions Come in Many Forms

World Building from the Inside Out, Part 4

cookie-1065911_640Each week, I’m enjoying this exploration into my heroine’s mind, thanks to help from Janeen Ippolito’s great blog post on world building. This time the question hits on a topic I hadn’t really thought about.

What is she addicted to, or what is one thing she could never give up?

This was a hard one. Iskra was a docile soul, wanting to follow the rules. At first I couldn’t think of a vice she had.

Then it hit me. What she was addicted to was approval from others. She’d do anything to get it.

This led her to be diligent in her studies, in her duties, to pay attention in class and to be the first to volunteer for any extra service to King and country, for the safety and good of all.

Sounds like a goody two shoes, right?

At least on the outside. She’s beginning to question, to wonder if all is as it should be. So she becomes embroiled in the conflict between what she thought was her identity, her reason for being, and what she was beginning to suspect was the truth.

She did have a weakness, like everyone else. Hers was for sweets. Food was tightly controlled, and there was little variation in the diet. If she ever saw her favorite cookies in the market, she’d buy as many as she could, even spending the food money on them. She’d been known to lie to her mother that she lost the money, which was why she came home without the carrots or cabbage she’d been sent to get.

This failing, of course, was something she hid from everyone. When her mother exposed her, she was mortified. She’d been outed as not being the perfect person she tried so hard to be. Now she has to come to grips with her own failings, as well as the flaws in the society in which she lives. She can’t believe in it any more.

Thinking about the question of addictions spurred my thinking about what other addictions might people have.

Village life is very limited, severely restricted. Drinking wine is permitted, but most people can only afford wine made from pineweeds or meshflowers. Village leaders occasionally enjoy gifts of wine from town and national officials.

Some people make primitive cigarettes from meshflowers and other herbs, and some of these are slightly hallucinogenic. This practice is of course forbidden, but is rather common. Field workers and those who work on the roads, at a distance from the village often smoke to help pass the monotony of their days.

Next week, the last in this series:

Who or what would she die for? Why? If no one or nothing, why not?

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