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.
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.