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Using the control that being a writer affords to create a story that addresses one or more outcomes that the author wishes would come about; that is wish fulfillment. There is nothing at all wrong with this, in and of itself. If Real Life fulfilled every psychological need we human beings have, we probably would not want to write fiction at all. Nor is there anything inherently unhealthy about using fantasy to compensate for a deficiency in Real Life; as long as one avoids becoming a Daydream Believer, Escapism and fantasy and Wish Fulfillment are healthy ways a human psyche can deal with dissatisfaction.

Human beings have needs, and some of these needs are psychological in nature. This is an undeniable fact. When a person's Real Life does not provide all of these psychological needs, they can turn to fiction in order to provide for these needs. For instance, someone lives a very boring life going to an utterly mundane job and has no excitement at all. Said person's need for variation and stimulation is not being catered for. Thus, this person might feel very attracted towards stories where an otherwise-normal person they can easily relate to suddenly becomes an extraordinarily powerful being and is thrust into a wild and thrilling series of events.

This, in turn, is why people sometimes defend fictional characters as if they were real, because they are not defending the character but idealized versions of themselves and/or embodiments of their values. An attack on the character is seen as an attack on traits they (the real person) personally possess and/or admire.

While it's a neutral term and an undeniable part of fiction in general, wish fulfilment is rarely mentioned in a positive light in reviews. Usually, bringing up the term suggests that the author sacrificed quality in plotting, pacing, characterization, etc. in order to facilitate their own wishes. However, it is entirely possible to have Wish Fulfillment stories that are still fluid and well-written; but be careful- do it too much, and it stops improving the story and just becomes indulgent instead. The conclusion being: don't worry too much about using these tropes as long as you pay particular care to that balance.

It is also possible for a work to be Wish-Fulfillment for the audience either, instead of, or as well as the author. People whom the work targets will be more willing (to a point) to suspend their disbelief over certain aspects of the work if it means that the goal of the work is achieved. The most blatant form of wish fulfillment for the audience is Reader-Insert Fic, which is literally about the reader. However, this can be a double-edged sword too, as aiming for a too-specific demographic can limit the amount of people that the work appeals to.

Contrast with Sour Grapes Tropes and True Art Is Angsty.

Not to be confused with Wishing Tropes, which is about literal wishes being granted for characters in-story.

Tropes generally accepted to be interrelated (if not a direct cause-effect relation) to wish fulfillment:

Alternative Title(s): Wish Fulfilment