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Character Motivations

            Last Post I talked briefly about writing down my character motivations during my trip up to Greer. I’d like to elaborate on that in this post.

            Tip: It’s a really good idea to sit down and figure out what motivates each and every single one of your characters. Why? Because figuring that out will give you a past to work with, a present to react upon, and a future to work towards.

            Let’s use an example.

            My main character Satou in my current story is about 25 and works for the Enforcers, a futuristic form of the Police. There’s a lot of crap going on in the space station he’s in, a lot of power struggles between factions, a lot of arguments about politics, but somewhere along the line, he stumbles along a way to save it from the destruction few saw coming. He sees this, and in my outline I wrote in big, bold letters, If Satou saves the Station, he feels he will be redeemed. Redeemed for what you might ask? His reason for being an Enforcer isn’t because he finds it thrilling to bust criminals or that he gets off on smiles from those he saves, Satou wants to make up for what he sees as his failure to save his mother and baby sister. He blames himself for their deaths, and every time he helped someone as an Enforcer, he got one small step closer to that redemption he seeks. But imagine this, if he can save everyone, that will definitely clear his guilt, so he hopped right on that dangerous adventure bandwagon.

            So you see, I made his past clear, his present motivations apparent, and his future a direct line toward a goal. Character motivation is key to any story, because if your character’s don’t have motivation, who cares about them?

            As a last note, I learned this valuable lesson from the GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) book by Debra Dixon. It’s expensive, but it’s helped me a bunch.

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