I’m sorry – I completely forgot to update yesterday. Top marks, self. But here I am today to try to make up for it. First of all, I’ve written 4532 words this week, which makes 18556 this year so far. I haven’t missed a day yet! Oh, and my Thursday project this week was Father Doesn’t Dance.
Secondly, Kat commented on my previous post that sometimes, people put more thought into their villains’ motivations than their heroes’. This can have the effect of making the villains seem more well-rounded and nuanced than the heroes! Kat also asked about the motivations for my protagonists in Submerge – which I will try to talk about with minimal spoilers today.
As Kat pointed out, it can be very tempting to leave a protagonist’s motivations at ‘it’s the right thing to do’. There are definitely times when that’s the only reason someone has for doing something, but quite often there’s more to it than that.
Think about all those movie cops. How many of them set out to become police officers purely because it was the right thing to do? There are lots of other reasons – because a crime was committed against them and they want revenge, because they want to make the world a safer place for a loved one, because they want to wear a smart uniform and order people about, because they think the police force is corrupt and want to change it from the inside… It might even be that they want to pull off a perfect crime and need insider knowledge to do it. Each of these motivations affects their actions and helps to develop them as a characters.
Now, I want to be careful about spoilers here because some of you won’t have read Submerge yet, but let’s have a look at some motivations for certain aspects of my various characters.
There’s Gina, for example, who collects discarded items from the ground and makes them into jewellery. She does that to make money, of course, and because she likes shiny things – who doesn’t? But she also hates to see things go to waste, possibly because she has been through times of having nothing. She started making broken and abandoned things beautiful at a time when she felt broken and abandoned, and wanted hope that she’d come out of it as something better. And it’s become something she really enjoys!
Addie does comedy. Is it because she was always the class clown, or even because she decided she didn’t want to be the butt of the jokes any more? Is it because when life gets difficult, sometimes you have to laugh or you’ll cry? It’s probably a combination of all of those things, but mostly a genuine desire to make people smile – not only to see people happy, but to be the one making them happy.
Miles and Jamie – well, their motives are perhaps best shrouded in mystery, for now. Hopefully, Submerge gives a good idea of many of their reasons for the things they do!
What do you think makes good motivation for a character? Let me know in the comments!
Talk to you soon!