On Character Motivation

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading an interesting post about what makes a strong female character (found here https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/108888319/posts/3836), and I came upon an interesting point – a strong female character is a catalyst.

Now, obviously, this post was more geared towards the lack of said strong female character (by this blogger’s definition), but mine is going to be a little more general.

Basically, characters need to do something. Change something. Actually do something to the plot.

Characters should be involved with the plot because they chose to be involved with the plot.

Now, there are some problems with this sweeping generalization, and without some external force many characters wouldn’t have a reason to be such a major plot point.  Sometimes, a hero needs a little prodding to get him or her out there in the front of the plot – but soon the protagonist should be making decisions by him or herself.

This isn’t just about protagonists, either. Supporting characters and villains should be just as motivated.

Of course, for there to be motivation means that the motivation has to come from somewhere. Are the heroes doing this out of duty? Out of hatred for the villains particular brand of evil? Are they protecting family members? Do they or others believe they are the only ones who can save the world? Are they specially skilled in a certain area that makes them a necessity to the mission? Are they just doing what they think is right?

As for villains, why are they evil? Do they think of themselves as evil? Are they just selfish? Or, in their minds, are they the hero?


Image from https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-recover-motivation-be-motivated-one-arrow-hits-center-target-sheet-paper-word-handwritten-red-image35203521



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