Character Motivation

What makes your character tick?

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I have talked about having motivation to write but there’s an even bigger motivation that you have to keep in mind. Hence, the title. A few months ago I was told that one of my characters was lacking motivation. My reader couldn’t tell why (let’s call her Person A) she was putting herself in danger. Since Person A is the lead in this story, I knew that this was a very serious problem. How can I engage with the reader if they don’t know why my characters acts the way she does?

It’s not like I didn’t interrogate Person A until her ears bled. I knew all about her childhood trauma and even took step to mention that in the story. I even wrote a short story about her childhood trauma. That information ended up lacking and I’m very glad that someone pointed it out to me. An extra pair of eyes is always helpful.

The way I fixed this situation was by typing some lines that literally said why my character was putting her life in danger. I made it seem like she was also having her own moments of doubts before realizing her motivation. This might seem like the easiest – in my humble opinion- route to take but sometimes you can’t get away with it. Sometimes you just have to rethink your character or your plot. Actually, I hope this works out. If not, I have to go back and write an write a scene that gives more information about Person’s A motivation.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of types of motivation; inner and outer motivation, villain motivation, etc. Not only does motivation give a deeper sense of who the character is but it also helps move the plot forward. If the character has a clear goal then most of the plot should fall in. Motivation and plot go hand in hand.

So if your character’s motivation doesn’t come across, it’s best to take a step back and dig a bit deeper and ask why. I found this cool link here that has a lot of other links for character development and questionnaires. Enjoy.

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