Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Digging Deeper - Part 2

Synonyms: motive, inspiration, inducement, cause, impetus. 

In GMC (Goal, Motivation & Conflict) MOTIVATION is the WHY.  It's the reason for the character's Goal. The more intense (emotional) the motivation, the better.

If a character has no goal, there's no reason for the reader to care.  No one cares about a character who doesn't want something.  The stronger and more emotional the goal, the more involved the reader will become.  But don't stop there, because it's the Conflict--what keeps the character from reaching the goal--that really keeps the story going and the reader hooked.  There won't be much of a story if the character gets what he/she wants in the beginning, no matter what the reason.  Therefore, we have conflict. 

Motivation is the Key to Conflict
Say it again.  Say it out loud.  Say it each time you sit down to plot or write a story.  Motivation is the key to conflict.  If you want deeper emotional conflict for the character--so deep that the reader can't put down the book--character motivation is imperative.

But where do we find motivation for our character?

What is backstory?
It's everything that happens before the story opens.

Anyone who has taken a basic psychology class knows that the person we are to become is formed as we grow.  Our personality is shaped from birth and beyond.  Good, bad, mediocre, it's all a part of who we are.  Those things that happen along the way--people and events--are our backstory.  Simply stated, it's our deepest, truest biography.  The same holds true for our characters.

Make your characters come alive.  Make them real.  Start working on the WHY of your characters before you start writing.  Know everything you can about them, their family and how they fit or didn't fit, their childhood, their friends and emotional experiences as they grew up.  When you work out the backstory first, it can reveal the motivation and conflict for your characters.

Remember, motivation is the key to make everything work.  The deeper and more intense and emotional the motivation, the stronger the conflict.  Find your character's conflict in their motivation through their backstory.

Goal, Motivation & Conflict.  It all works together.  Without each of those points, a character is incomplete.  When all three work together, a character can be unforgettable.

More next week on how to dig even deeper into your character's motivation and backstory.
Action, reaction, motivation, emotion, all have to come from the characters. Writing a love scene requires the same elements from the writer as any other. ~ Nora Roberts

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