GOD DAMN IT IT’S BEEN A YEAR WHO THE FUCK BROUGHT IT BACK.
WHO BROUGHT THIS BACK I THOUGJT I BURNED THIS POST WITH SALT AND FIRE I DONT WANT TO BE REMEMBERED LIKE THIS
This is hilarious
Character Motivation and Consistency:
So lets take a moment to talk about character consistency. This is something that I find a lot of people have a hard time with and a lot of it has to do with the actual development of the character in itself. When making a character, we pick out traits and experiences that define our character. All of these things including flaws and talents are important but something that people tend to forget with picking out a character is what their motivation is.
Author Orson Scott Card reminds us “We never fully understand other people’s motivations in real life. In fiction, however, we can help our readers understand our characters’ motivations with clarity, sometimes even certainty. This is one of the reasons why people read fiction—to come to some understanding of why other people act the way they do.”
Why is Knowing Motivation Important in Writing?:
This essentially, explains to us why characters act the way they do. Choices are determined by the motivation of the character. They are a guide in the choices they make because where they want to go or what they want determines what choices they are going to make. Very very VERY seldom does anyone make a choice at random. By knowing your characters primary motivation, the choices that they make will remain consistent (Even if they are not the ‘right’ choices.
Basic External and Internal Motivations:
Bold-face is obverse aspect (stuff in parens = goals, effects, or other association)
- Survival/safety; Fear of the world (food, water, escape from danger)
- Physical comfort; gluttony (shelter, warmth, good food, health)
- Pleasure; hedonism (sex, great food, culture, games)
- Dominance; tyranny (power, social standing, competition, respect)
- Acquisitiveness; greed (wealth, materialism, collecting, excellence)
- Curiosity; voyeurism (learning, searching, investigating)
- Mastery; perfectionism (excellence, conquest, discipline, achievement)
- Reproduction; profligacy (children, creativity, family-building)
- Autonomy; isolation (self-sufficiency, freedom, non-confinement)
- Affiliation; conformity (security, cooperation, loyalty, clan)
- Love; lust/ownership (connection, passion, sex, mirroring, approval, giving)
- Revenge; justice (righting wrongs, recognition of grievance, vengeance)
- Guilt; denial of guilt (responsibility, shame, punishment, redemption, forgiveness)
- Identity; self-centeredness (self-esteem, self-knowledge, self-protection)
- Surcease; conflict avoidance (peace, escape from anxiety, death)
- Spirituality; fetishism (religion, transcendence, transformation)
- Growth; decay, aging (learning, maturation, wisdom)
- Ambition; insecurity/anxiety (fear of failure, inferiority, stress)
- Vindication; rationalization (success, proving self, apology)
The Difference in between a Goal and Motivation:
The goal is like the flower… the motivation is the roots.
The goal is the outward manifestation of the motivation. It is concrete, measurable, and specific.
You don’t know when you’ve fulfilled the motivation: “I want success” isn’t measurable– what’s success? But you know when you’ve achieved a goal: ”I want to be on the New York Times bestseller list–” That’s measurable. You’ll know when you reach it.
Just keep in mind that while the goal is the external manifestation of the motivation, the connection is not always a straight or clear one. You can have a goal that is destructive and against your true motivation– “looking for love in all the wrong places” is an example.
Or you can have a laudatory goal for a selfish or twisted motivation– “I want to be first in my class to show my father up!”
Motivation is the past; Goal is the future; Conflict is the present.
Distinguish between MOTIVATION and ACTION:
Remember that motivation exists to inspire the character to make choices and take actions. If you’ve been told your protagonist is “too passive”, it’s likely what’s lacking is motivation that leads to action.
Every action, however small, should be motivated. If the motivation is obvious, then you might not have to show it (we assume that she’s running from that tiger for survival).
Compare the external (obvious) motivation to the goal and/or actions. If they don’t match, an internal motivation is probably in force. What hidden desire or fear is influencing actions?
An alternative reason for motivation/action mismatch: You’re trying to make an original character act in stereotypical ways.
And keep this in mind:
Heroism and villainy are in the action, not the motivation. Heroes do heroic things, they don’t just intend to do them. And villains do bad things even if they have the best of intentions.
Taking all of these things into account, here are three exercises that I found a while back and use to help figure out character motivations:
1. Real People as a template:
Make a list of 5 people you know really well. Beside each, make notes about how they:
- react to stress
- experience happiness,
- treat other people.
After that, list what motivates each of these behaviors. Try to be as factual as possible, drawing from things you know; for things you’re unsure of, use common sense to hypothesize.
A person might make it their goal to treat others with respect because of religious beliefs, or maybe because they were disrespected in the past. Someone might react poorly to stressful situations because they have a deep-seated fear of failure, stemming from a past experience.
2. Characters from Literature:
List 5 characters from literature and what motivated their actions throughout their respective stories.
For example, Shakespeare’sHamlet. His thoughts are motivated by revenge (because his uncle secretly killed his father), along with anger, sadness and confusion (because his mother married his uncle so soon after his father’s death).
Add to this a host of other factors, and you have a well-developed character you can understand.
3. Self reflection:
Write paragraphs to describe
- your most frightening experience
- your happiest experience,
- your most stressful experience, and how you reacted to each situation.
After, list all the factors that motivated your behavior. How is your personality shaped by your motivations?
During the story (Or role play) it is important to remember these character motivations when your character makes choices. That is really what this is about; identifying the motivations that make your character act the way that they do.
During the plot, motivations may change, and should actually shift for the character to develop, but never all at once and never out of the blue. Still the back story that drives your characters motivations will always be part of them.
For instance; I write a character whose past has made her a survivalist but over the course of a year she shifts to protection of the family that she has developed. However this took a full year to happen and her motivation of survival was never put on the back burner. Instead it just expanded to protection of the group and not just herself. Her fear of lose over this new family is what really drives her.
And there you have it: Keeping your character consistent through their motivation.
tayjxrdine said: How do I kill off a hero?
MERCILESSLY AND WHILE CACKLING WITH GLEE.
*ahem* Sorry, I have to stop channeling George R.R. Martin.
When you kill off any hero, you have to remember the following things:
- The audience needs a reason to care about the death. Quite a few years ago, I happened to watch a short behind the scenes on The Incredibles that mentioned there was originally going to be a pilot character who would be killed off to show how serious the situation was. The decision to cut him due to the fact that in order to make the audience care about his death, he would need more screen time than they could afford to give him. In other words, your readers need to know your characters before they die. The better they know them and how they think and feel, the more effective their death is.
- Leave the shock value deaths to horror movies. There’s a difference between a pointless death that angers readers and a death that causes them to care. A lot of this is left, in my opinion, to how the other characters feel about the death. In schlock horror movies, character deaths are about the gore and creativity of the death, not about how it affects the characters or the readers. In real life, deaths have impact, from friends to strangers. However the death is done, exploring the impact of it on the remaining characters is essential.
- How the character dies is important to the theme of your story. A lot of movies will make it seem that a heroic sacrifice is the best way for a hero to go for the maximum effect, but if that’s not the point of your story, you don’t have to go that way. Heroes can die in all sorts of ways, not always in battle or to save the earth. They can die from cancer, they can die in a car accident. They can die doing something stupid. In a book, character deaths will have meaning, but it’s up to you to decide what meaning that will have. (Speaking of George R.R. Martin, this is something he’s quite good at.) Look carefully at how you want the death to impact both the plot and the characters.
- Death isn’t beautiful, it isn’t erotic, and it’s often messy. When people die from a long illness, they don’t look pale and pretty. When people die in a fight, there’s blood and gore. Bodies bloat and decompose. They don’t look attractive like they do on cop shows to keep people watching. Your dead hero is not going to go out beautifully and bloodless, and that’s okay. It’s part of death. Don’t be afraid to show it.
- Don’t hold back, but don’t be afraid to care. The more you ensure your readers are attached to your hero, the more you will become attached. On the other hand, if you don’t care about the character because you know they will die, your readers will pick up on that too. Don’t be afraid to put real emotion into it, but don’t let that emotion stop you from carrying through. It’s good to care, but it’s also important to stick to your story. (And if you’re not a wreck when you kill a character, that’s okay too! Just make sure your story gives the reader reasons to care for them.)
Do you know all of the following vocabulary words?
Many students we know are using their precious summer break to prepare for the October SAT.
As you study the hundreds or thousands of vocabulary words, make sure that you master all of the following words. If they’re missing from your flash cards, vocabulary books, or smartphone apps, add them.
They appeared on a recent official College Board SAT exam (October 2012), and they are some of the test’s favorite words.
Make sure that you know not only what the words mean but also how to use them in context. Vocabulary.comis the best source of usage examples.