Your characters’ motivations

I wrote about Motivation long ago but feel the need to preach about it again. I saw a movie where the protagonist does something totally out of character. It drives me up the wall every time I see the movie. So I’m going to vent.

Writers, make sure your characters have reasons for what they do! If your characters change their minds, or do something contrary to who they are, make sure the reasoning is there. Whims don’t cut it for the sake of a gleeful “what if?” or because you want your story to go in a certain direction.

This crosses a bit into making sure your characters aren’t mere cardboard cut-outs, but even well-fleshed-out characters can end up doing something against their nature or conscience if the writer isn’t paying attention.

A selfish person doesn’t just give for no reason, one who is normally a doormat isn’t going to stand up for herself unless something has led her to it. A person who normally is calm and reasoned isn’t going to do something incredibly stupid without some explanation. A person who has opposed something isnt going to do a turn-around and take up that cause without justification.
Get me?

Make sure your characters do what they do because it’s what they’d do, not because you want them to do it.

There. I’m through venting. Back to your holiday activities. Merry Christmas.



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