Building Memorable Characters

Yesterday the topic was character goals. Today we talk about character motivation. Motivation is usually what’s behind the character’s goal, what makes him/her go for something, sometimes to the detriment of everything else.

And I can give you a perfect example using authors. Okay, so we are not the character, but what most people believe is the motivation for an author penning a novel is the money the novel will make. Notice, I said what most people believe. That’s not the case for why most authors write, but it’s what people believe to be the motivation behind the goal of writing a book. Oh, granted in some cases, definitely, but in writing fiction, most of us are interested in telling a story. It a matter of having to write, money is not the motivation behind the goal of writing a novel.

So in building a believable character, your motivation is the reason behind your character’s goal. And this gets tricky, because the character can believe it’s one thing, when actually it is something completely different that he/she is not willing to admit to themselves.

And a character who is believable may have more than one goal. so there can be several motivational factors behind each of those goals, or they can all be the same reason. But the important point here is reality. His/her motivation has to be realistic. A trip to Mars on a space ship could be a wish, a goal, motivated by the fact he hates this planet, but none of it is realistic unless you are writing SCFI. Then it might work.

So real goals, motivated by sound reasons and you begin to build a real character.

An example here might be good. Our hero, Gus carries the  CF gene. He doesn’t want children because be doesn’t want to pass on the gene, so his goal is to stay single and enjoy dating a lot of women. He isn’t afraid of commitment, nor marriage. What he is afraid of is giving his child a fatal disease. That’s his motivation. His goal is to stay single. Of course in a romance, it doesn’t work that way, which is why conflict comes into play. But as I said, that’s for later on. Tomorrow, lets talk about characters and how to make them each individual. This involves speech patterns and habits.

See you tomorrow. And think up as many annoying habits as you can.



About allisonknight2014

I write historical, gothic and contemporary romance. After all, after 53 years of marriage to a great guy, I do know a bit about romance. I'm a retired teacher and no, I didn't teach English, have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I love to cook and hate to clean. Somehow, the writing satisfies both. Cooking up romance keeps me from cleaning!
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