This week: What motivates your character?Edited by: Prosperous Snow Globe
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"Many of our deepest motives come, not from an adult logic of how things work in the world, but out of something that is frozen from childhood."
“This history of culture will explain to us the motives, the conditions of life, and the thought of the writer or reformer. ”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
"The light of lights looks always on the motive, not the deed, the shadow of shadows on the deed alone."
William Butler Yeats
What motivates your characters? Is it love, money, success, revenge, or something that happened to the their childhood? Are your characters motivated by something in their culture or spiritual path? Do your characters know their own motives or are those motives unconscious? Are your characters' motives complex or simple?
Everyone is motivated by something. Sometimes we are motivated by more than one thing. Some of our motives are known to us and some are unconscious or unadmitted. Some of our motives are complex, which makes them difficult to understand. Some are simple and easy to understand. Knowing the motives of both the protagonist and antagonist helps move the plot forward. It also makes the characters more believable and rounded.
In flash fiction, micro fictions, and some short stories it is difficult to show a character's motives. It is easier in novels, novellas, and short stories longer than 1,000 words to reveal the characters' motives in a believable way. However, characters' motives should be something the writer knows, especially if you intend to expand the story later. Knowing the motives of the main characters also helps when it comes to rewriting.
What are some of the things that motivates your characters?
Excerpt: The shuttle lifted off the ground and shot up toward space. Just like all the other scientists aboard I was so excited I almost peed myself. This was a dream come true. How could we ever even hope to be making a trip of this kind in my lifetime? NASA had accomplished much, men on the moon, a space station, and even plans for a trip to Mars. But everything changed the day the aliens arrived.
Excerpt: Rarbyakh Gurrgish was a boy of just fifteen when the sea monsters approached the humble village of Tronrus.
Excerpt: Dear Nephew Grumpy,
Excerpt: A yellow driverless car pulled up to the curb in front of Karen. The back door swung open automatically. "Please enter this taxi Karen Wallace. Brenda Davis has dispatched this car to transport you to the Healthy Life Gym for your 4:00 p.m. aerobics class."
Excerpt: “I don’t want to hear your excuses! Why don’t you just admit you SUCK, Dad!” Natalya screamed and ran upstairs into her bedroom — hands over her ears.
Excerpt: In the mountains of East Tennessee there lies a small hollow called Dismal Creek. Nowadays there is nothing left there but trees and the old cemetery. The wind whistles through the trees, and it stays dark as twilight even at noon. The most recent date in the cemetery is 1897. No one has lived there in a very long time...
Excerpt: “I can’t believe this,” Penny exclaimed as she desperately looked for a street sign… or any sign at all. She strained not to let her eyes linger on the trees as their leaves turned to an amber color and drifted lazily to the ground.
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The Dark Faery writes: I live in Oklahoma so your newsletter was very interesting. Oklahoma is full of ghosts. There have been Bigfoot sights in Eufuala and in the country side of Dibble.
ForeverDreamer writes: My story "Dismal Creek" is based on a ghost legend from my home town called "Dark Hollow."
intuey*I'mWatchingYou!* writes: I think researching urban myths (or nonmyths?) and studying the history of your city and state is absolutely fascinating! And you're definitely right, it's a great feed for writing
I have heard and seen on T.V the spots you are talking about. There are so many places people disappear. We have an unbelievable amount of disappearances of all ages all across the world. Many even happen in varying state parks! It's really quite creepy. Some say they may have walked into another dimension or a time slip and never find their way back. Other reasons, of course, is an alien abduction. People and bodies have been found long after they went missing in the same spot that has been searched repeatedly many times! Very strange.
🌙 Darleen writes: This is based on the actual urban legend of Hell's Gate Bridge. I thought it fit in with your article. Enjoy!
Queen Kissy writes: Great newsletter! One of the better known urban legends in my neck of the woods is the Lady of White Rock. Witnesses claim to see a young woman walking along the road in a dripping dress. When approached, she asks for a ride home. Before arriving at the address she disappears, leaving behind a wet car seat. An ancestor of mine wrote what is considered the first published account in a 1943 publication by the Texas Folklore Society. I'm currently in the process of writing about the tale myself.
Editing is BLUE writes: Famous Roswell. Who, over the age of 50, hasn't heard of this place? My husband. When he was sent to a mine a few hours out of Roswell, I teased him about green men. He was quiet. He had no idea what I was talking about. I had to explain what Roswell/Area 51 was. He did remember seeing pictures of Silver Airstream motor homes parked in the desert with a bunch of people wearing tin foil hats. He's been back to that area a few times now and send me pictures of empty restaurant booths asking. "Do you see them now?" we get a big kick out of it. He was fascinated by the airplane grave yard.
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