There are three things to always remember when working on a story; Motivation, Motivation, Motivation.
This single word (uttered three times) is key to the author as well as pivotal to their characters. This segment is all about what drives you and your main character.
First up—why do you this? I’m sure you’re like all of us. We’ve got plenty of other things we should be doing, but for some reason, the story in your head has to come out. Whether at its core your writing is a whimsical fancy, a conduit for repressed creativity, a means to an end, or a cathartic exercise, it’s your journey. Stay true to the “why” you started down the road. Like so many things in life, we need to remind ourselves how our journey started. In those humble beginnings, we can always find a true sense of purpose and a way to quantify success on the days where the path becomes over grown and difficult to follow.
I attended a conference one summer and as I sat amongst a group of fellow writer the speaker asked us a question. “Who here writes every day?” My hand along with a few others went up, and he nodded before responding. “If you want to be a writer then you have to write. That means every day.” I wanted to share that because the path to being a writer is a long one (more on that in another blog) and you have to love doing this. So many writers stop because they lose sight of that magical feeling that brought them to the craft. As with all things in life staying motivated is key.
Now, as far as your characters are concerned, motivation means something else entirely. Not only must the major story ideas be distinguishable to your readers, but also your main characters' motivations must be too. Think of the cliché movement in the making of movies when the actors ask the director, “What’s my character's motivation?” That question must be asked in every chapter, situation, and interaction you place your characters in.
Each chapter not only needs to encourage the reader to want to see what happens next but all the events described need to be traced back to the motivations of the characters. This will help you avoid plot “sink holes” that leave readers confused and uninspired to continue.
Keeping the characters' motivations in the forefront of your scene drafting enables you to ensure they are always true to form, whether that is for good or evil. It also reduces confusion to the readers. Notice I didn't say give all the plot twists away. Mystery and suspense are vital to certain genres, and I am not suggesting you craft a bland story. They have stereo instructions for that. Focusing on motivations allows you to have clarity of purpose with each page, chapter and plot twist so your readers can enjoy the ride without stopping to ask for directions.
Well, that’s all for today. I hope these thoughts have sparked some great ideas. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. Thank you for stopping by the Legion and have a terrific day!