M is for Motivation

Due to a power outage, I wasn’t able to post this yesterday.  I’ll do a post for the letter “N” tomorrow to catch up.


Your character’s goal will motivate them to act.


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Your character is as unique as a fingerprint.  She won’t be like any other character you’ve ever written or will write.  She might have similar traits to other characters, but she is a specific and unique character in her own right.  This means the motivation is going to be unique to this character, too.  You also want this motivation to be compelling enough the reader will want to stick with the character through the entire book.  So when deciding what your character’s motivation is, think about the character’s personality and  background.

If you’re a panster (like me), you can know the character on a subconscious level. The panster becomes consciously aware of the character as they write.  This is why we end up surprised by a new twist we didn’t see coming.  When you write at the panster level, you have to trust that the character’s motivation is going to make the story all it can be.

Plotters will figure things out ahead of time, so they know (going in) what will happen and why the character is the way she is.  Depending on how heavy the author plots, they will know more (or less) going into the story.  I know some authors who do basic outlines and fill them in as they go along.  I’ve heard of others who have a detailed outline of everything before they start writing.

There is no right way to write the book.  The best thing is to go with the method that works best for you.  Like unique characters, authors are different, too. 🙂

Back to motivation…

Motivation is what will propel the character toward the goal.  It is the desire burning within the character.  Think of what makes you wake up in the morning.  When you open your eyes, is there something that you look forward to?  Is there some driving passion that excites you?  This is the kind of motivation your character will need to take the journey.  So think of that emotion when you’re trying to get across how much the character wants that goal.

This post is part of the Blogging from A – Z Challenge.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to https://ruthannnordinsbooks.wordpress.com/.
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10 Responses to M is for Motivation

  1. Wivesrepublic says:

    Motivation, that one word that works like magic. Nice to meet you from the AtoZChallenge.

  2. “…you can know the character on a subconscious level. The panster becomes consciously aware of the character as they write. ..”

    YES!! you have stated it perfectly! 😀

  3. I’m thinking of going back to being a pantser. Plotting has taken some of the fun out of writing for me. I was happier as a pantser. And I totally get what you mean about the pantser becoming aware of the character as they write. That’s part of the fun.

    • Let me know how the transition back goes if you do it. I just haven’t had any luck with plotting. I can do very brief notes, but that’s about it. I live for the twists and turns. I agree. The fun part is learning the character along the way. 🙂

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