Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday's Characters are Motivated

In my WIP, I’m having trouble with everyone’s motivations. Some people seem to just be around to please my MC which is a BIG NO NO.

People don’t stand around going hmmm I’m going to let my world revolve on this one person. Everyone is dealing with their own stuff. Anyways this is an opportunity for conflict when one character’s wants/ needs go against the MC’s wants/ needs.

People are very rational. Okay so there are a few completely IRRATIONAL people in the world, but for the most part we all have a goal. What will benefit me the most? Now the benefit can be different things: the relief of knowing a loved one is safe, money, power, etc. Most people don’t go OMG I wanna be locked up in a dungeon just for fun. There has to be a reason for the person who locked them there and the actions that lead up to the dungeon sentence.

You also have to take into consideration what they could lose from this decision. For example, happy people who are well feed and aren’t sick don’t start revolutions. The government could be horrible, but if staying peaceful means food and safety for your loved ones, would you risk it all for what’s morally correct? Maybe, maybe not. Think about it in Legally Blond terms: Food gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't join revolutions, they just don't. (I know this isn’t the exact quote, but I thought it would make the post less dull. And I know food actually activates endorphins, but I thought this would seem catchier.) On the other hand, hungry people who have nothing to lose have no problems saying down with the man. Look at France and Russia. Hungry people got fed up and you know revolution, death, dictatorship.

I could go more into depth about everything that goes around motivation, but I think it can be summed up in my little chart. I’m a planner, but I think this could help anyone who needs some help deciding why their characters are doing what without being boring.









Does she work on Friday night or go to a party with a friend?

Party with a friend

Her crush might be at the party ;)





Private time with her crush

Fun with friend

Amazing party

No work= no pay

Bad hangover in the morning

Nervous about missing work but slightly excited for the trill

Fired from her job

Forgot to pick up her brother from theater practice

Motivation Chart Key:

Chapter- This is only for organizational purposes, so everything is in the same order as your story.

Character- I like to rationalize all my characters decisions. Main Characters, villains and love interests are especially important for this column.

Options- What is your character deciding between? Sometimes it’s whether or not to act. Sometimes it’s between two reasonable. Sometimes it’s between a rock and a hard place.

Decision- What did they choose?

Motivation- Why did your character choose this decision?

Gains- What can your character gain from this decision?

Loses- What can your character lose from this decision?

Feelings- How does your character feel about this decision?

Results- What results from this decision?

I think if anyone can think though all 9 things, their motivation would come out stronger.

How do you work with character motivation? Did anyone find the chart helpful?