Monday, July 16, 2012

MMWUC - Motivation

Somebody want something from someone.

There it is. Every story ever told distilled to its essence. Your job is to make that somebody (man, woman, child, alien, beast, fairy, goblin, ghost, vampire, werewolf, zombie, monster, microbe, weather phenomena, or God) feel motivated to the reader so that the "somebody" is going to try to get something (a woman, man, playmate, domination, a beauty, a ring, revenge, blood, who the hell knows what a werewolf wants, [duh! brains], a girl in a flimsy nightie, other microbes, expulsion of humans, or that feel good vibe from knowing you can do anything you want. You must make the motivation seem real.

And creating this motivation must extend to the entity trying to prevent the somebody from the something they want. Unless you are writing some bizarre, alternative story (and you're not), than the someone (Yes, Virginia, the someone doesn't have to be a living, breathing thing) blocking their path must have some motivation to stop them. (Yes, Virginia, a wedge of ice can be the someone (physical manifestation), but the real opposition in that story is probably something inside the person, making the somebody and someone the same.)

Why am I blathering on about this? No real reason other than to get you thinking about your characters and what they want. Never forget the motivation. The more main characters you have with specific motivation, the better your story will be. Go watch Casablanca. Go read The Maltese Falcon. Go watch Dogma. What makes these stories tick, aside from other properties, is that all the main characters, and even some of the minor ones, are fully motivated to their goals, even if, as in the case of Rick, the goal changes by the end.

Go forth and write. Make every word and action count. Make Virginia sit up and take notice.

4 comments:

Shelia said...

Thanks Rick! Just what I needed to hear today. My novel was stuck. You gave me an idea to unstick it!

Shelia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth Camp said...

Thanks, Rick. Now I know who took my brains . . . the werewolves! Or was it the zombies?

But figuring out motivation is especially true of the villain -- or those who oppose our main characters.

Rick Bylina said...

Thanks for the comments.

It might be close to 3 p.m., but right I think I need a big cup of coffee to go along with stoking the motivation of my bad guy. Also need to erase the "front row keys" from my forehead. Never fall asleep on your computer. Good thing I don't drool, yet!

Write on!