How to Explore Your Characters’ Motivations

by Joe Bunting | 30 comments

In fiction, our characters have to make bold choices to move the plot forward. If you've ever struggled as a writer to make your characters take strong action or to make their journey believable, you may be struggling with your character's motivation. Let's look at why you need to understand motivation and how to use it to build more complex characters.

treasure chest with gold coins

“We never fully understand other people's motivations in real life,” says Orson Scott Card. “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.”

The question is, do you understand why your characters do the things they do? And are you conveying that understanding to the reader in an interesting way?

I once edited an action thriller about a jaded assassin who is put into a situation where her choice will decide the fate of the world. Throughout the novel the reader asks, is this character good or bad? Is she a monster? Or does she have justification for killing?

One scene, in the middle of the novel, answers it all for us: a flashback to her childhood. This scene most perfectly delves into her motivation. However, the author skimmed over it. It was two or three pages long. It felt rushed, like the author didn't know how important it was. In no uncertain terms, this scene was the center of the novel. We finally got answers to what made our character do what she did. But the author missed it.

What is Character Motivation?

Character motivation is the driving force behind a character's behaviors and actions in a story. It is the reason why a character makes certain decisions and pursues specific goals, whether they are external or internal needs, desires, fears, or aspirations.

Examples of Character Motivation from The Hunger Games

Let's look at some examples of character motivation from The Hunger Games.

  1. Katniss Everdeen's motivation to stay alive in The Hunger Games is driven by her basic need for survival. She knows that in order to make it out of the deadly competition alive, she must be willing to do whatever it takes to outlast her opponents.
  2. Another example of character motivation from The Hunger Games is Katniss's desire to preserve her moral code. Despite the brutal nature of the games and the pressure to kill other participants, Katniss struggles with the idea of taking innocent lives and tries to find ways to navigate the game without compromising her values.

Each of the characters has their own external motivation and likely internal motivation for the actions they take. Your goal as a writer is to know the key reasons that drive your character forward.

Motivation: How to Bring Characters to Life

To build more believable characters, you need to make sure your readers know why your characters want their goals, and why they are choosing this specific course of action to get them.

In real life, motivation humanizes people. Think about it. If you see someone steal bread, you know it's wrong, and you may even try to stop them. But if you learn they have kids outside in the car who have only been eating from trash scraps all week, suddenly, you understand the thief in a new way. It doesn't absolve them of their actions. It explains their actions.

To understand the motivations of your fictional characters, you need to interrogate them. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Why did you do that?
  • Did you have something happen to you as a child?
  • In high school? In college?
  • Did someone hurt you?
  • Did you hurt someone else?
  • How were you treated by your parents or other people who took care of you?

Once you're finished with your interrogation, you need to show the reader what you learned. Here, the best practice to show rather than tell. You might summarize what you've learned, but it's better to describe the scene.

Keep in mind that not all motivation is deep in your character's past. Sometimes strong motivation comes from physical needs or the actions of someone else. For example, if someone harms or kills the person you love, your motivation might be revenge or justice.

Motivation for Your Cast

Just like each of your characters has an external goal, they also need compelling motivation to make their actions credible. Take some time to make a list of motivations for your main character and the other key players in your cast. The most powerful motivations will be those readers can identify with in real life.

What do you think? How important is character motivation? Share in the comments.

PRACTICE

If you have a novel you're working on now, spend some time interrogating your protagonist, asking why they are doing the things they do.

Write about their answers to your questions for fifteen minutes. Post your practice in Pro Practice Workshop when you're finished and leave encouragement for a few other writers too.

How to Write Like Louise PennyWant to write like Louise Penny? Join our new class and learn how. Learn more and sign up here.

Join Class

Next LIVE lesson is coming up soon!

 | Website

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

30 Comments

  1. Graham Dinton

    Thanks, this is great advice. I’ve often sat and written my character’s life story(abbreviated!) in first person as a way to get into their head , but this is definitely a stronger approach with more of an interrogation. I like that idea.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      That’s a great practice too, Graham, especially to get into your character’s voice, their unique style of talking and looking at the world.

  2. Hazel Keats

    The Beast never calls me Ray and being twelve taking care of an old man isn’t exactly a Ninja’s dream, but it really is a sweet deal. I get to eat anything from the kitchen whenever I want and no one hits me. When the Beast leaves for the bars around eight, I put Ernie to bed and the TV and fridge are all mine. Taking care of Ernie isn’t that bad, even when he throws his lunch at me. I take the blame whenever Ernie wakes the Beast, so he won’t hit Ernie. The Beast may yell at me to paint the house but he wouldn’t dare hit me. One red mark and my social worker will pull me and the Beast needs my support checks. Ernie and I are his sole support. One day I will find a better place but right now I’m a dish-washing Ninja!

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Wow, Hazel. This is so fun! And sad. So his motivations for staying with an abusive old man is that theirs lots of food and unlimited TV. But the downside is, he’s threatened with abuse and has to take care of an old man and a child. Still he has freedom and relative safety.

      Interesting. I think that makes sense for a twelve year old with an imagination who doesn’t want to be put in what could be a worse situation.

      And I like the way you tell it. He seems like the kind of kid that would be fun to follow around for a novel.

    • Hazel Keats

      Thanks Joe! : )

    • Marianne

      I like the way he is tough enough to know that he can’t be hit so that marks are left. He seems to understand the system. Is the Beast their father or a foster father. Anyway it sounds good.

  3. Nora Lester Murad

    You do know that your staff hate you, don’t you? Why do you think that is?

    They may not like me, but they obey me. They know my standards are high and that I won’t let them underperform. Sometimes, if you want to do an exemplary job, you can’t worry about whether or not people like you.

    Why is it so important to do an exemplary job?

    When you reach the level I’ve reached in such an important international organization, people’s lives depend on you. You can’t let them down. If I don’t perform, there could be serious consequences. Imperfection is not an option.

    How does this need to excel affect the way you run your department?

    It makes work a constant battle against mediocrity and incompetence. All day long I have to correct every person a million times. They seem incapable of answering the phone properly, taking notes properly, submitting a proper report, scheduling simple events. They need me to explain every little thing. They are hungry for attention and validation. How do they survive?

    What would you do if one of your staff criticized you?

    They wouldn’t dare.

    But if they did?

    They would regret it.

    What is an appropriate punishment for someone who criticizes you?

    They need to be made to understand their place or the organization can’t run smoothly. I would make sure that they know their place and that those around them know what I am willing to do to keep them in their place. You earn the right to criticize by moving up through hard work the way I have. It is not a birthright.

    Your staff say that you take credit for their work. They say you lie about the staff to your superiors. Is that true? Why do you do it?

    They work for me. All the work of the team is my work. I submit the work to my superiors. That’s my job. I don’t take credit for their work, I take credit for my work, which is leading the team and ensuring the quality of all the team’s products.

    The staff say that you are cruel. You insult and disrespect them. You make them work too hard and respond unreasonably to their requests.

    That’s a vicious lie. I am one of the most admired managers in the organization, perhaps “the” most popular.

    You don’t take part in workplace social events. Why?

    Half my staff work very hard and they need a break after hours. If I were to attend these events, they would feel obligated to show deference. They would feel responsible for making sure my needs are met. I think it is right for them to have some time to relax. The other half of my staff are lazy and ignorant. I’m working hard to reallocate them to parts of the organization where they can do less damage or to help them realize that they should resign and find other work. I don’t like seeing those people in the office or outside the office. They should have self-respect and leave my team. Moreover, I work long hours. Sometimes I work late into the night and through the weekend. I don’t have time to play like people at lower levels of the organization.

    It sounds like you don’t care about people. How did you get that way?

    I am a very giving and compassionate person. Anyone will tell you how hard I work for the good of others. But that doesn’t mean that I’m weak. No, I’m strong. I became strong by taking care of myself from a very young age. My mother died when I was 5 and my father was often away. He had a very responsible position in the Salvadoran military and it was a time of war. He loved me very much but I rarely saw him. My caregivers could see how self-reliant I was and let me take care of myself. When one caregiver left and another came, I was the one to show her how to do her job! When there was no caregiver, I took care of myself just fine. Many people said that I was an unusually strong and capable child, and, as a result of my upbringing, I have always been a strong and capable adult.

    How about your relationship with your superiors? Is it positive?

    I am a highly regarded professional. My competence has never been questioned. I am trusted to carry a large load—larger than my peers—because they trust me to get the work done right.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Brilliant interrogation, Nora. I love that first question, “You do know that your staff hate you, don’t you?” Way to take the probe and dig in deep. He sounds like more of an anti-hero than a hero. Of course, sometimes these can make the most interesting heroes. Jack Bauer was hardly a nice guy.

    • Beth Schmelzer

      Why do you assume the MC is a man?

    • 709writer

      I thought it was a man, too – the way your character behaves and responds reminds me of my main antagonist, who is also a man. These are insightful questions with insightful answers. Thanks for sharing!

    • Becca

      I immediately assumed it was a woman

    • Morgan

      you are really good. You helped me a lot.

  4. kateoldkate

    did anything happen to you as a child?
    I always felt second. Second to my parents love for each other. I have friends whose parents are divorced, but I never had a friend like me, who was in interruption to their parent’s love and their life together. Mom and dad started leaving me alone in the house at night starting when I was seven so they could go out. Mom fed me dinner, something she heated up quickly and carried on a plate away from her body, away from her silk blouse or new dress. Mom sat, impatient and smelling like Jungle of Gardenia, applying and reapplying lipstick, smacking her lips together, tapping her long nails on the table, waiting for me to finish and not choke so she and dad could go out. They would lock the door behind them and I would fall asleep on the couch to Love Boat or Fantasy Island. I always woke up in my bed and told myself that when dad carried me upstairs, they must have sat under my canapy bed, brushing the hair off my forehead, kissing me, admiring me, loving me.

    Reply
  5. Bo Lane

    How did you know my protagonist was female? She’s 15, actually, and I think you just might fall in love with her.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Ha. Lucky guess! I believe you 🙂

  6. wakamotorcycle

    What happened in the past in the Blitz Einsatz Rosenberg?

    I was the highest performing soldier in the unit. I have
    killed countless and destroyed many. I was cold blooded and didn’t care for any
    of them. As long as I can return home to my daughter and my wife I couldn’t
    care less. Richard Blues saved my life in the past and I now owe him a debt. He
    commanded me to lead the Blitz Einsatz to war in order to pay him back. He had
    already modified my body to become a super soldier when he saved me so I was
    virtually unstoppable. Even among the unit where everybody was modified I was
    the top performer. I outperformed any soldier and my ego grew. During the 4
    long years of war my ego inflated to the point where I would do anything to
    polish my name. But then during the final battle at Beijing, when I stood upon
    the Capitol building…I realized something. Something snapped inside my mind. Yes,
    it was when I have slain a girl the same age as my daughter. I have slain many
    in the past including these kind of girls. But somehow this girl snapped me
    back into reality. I went mad from the shame and guilt I have committed during
    the four years…how I never contacted my family…how I have become a heartless
    killing machine. Somehow in my crazed mind I came up with a way to repent it. I
    turned my back on the capitol and rushed back to my crew. I went on a killing
    spree against my unit thinking if I kill these criminals who killed many
    innocent people I can redeem myself. When I came to senses I stood upon pile of
    corpse who was once my companions. I have not only killed my companions, I have
    casted the entire victory for Germany. The Japanese successfully pushed back
    our invasion force and reestablished its Capitol back on Japan. Then we went on
    a ceasefire thus ending the war.

    What happened to your family?

    I would sometime delude that my wife cheated on me and left
    me. And the fact that my daughter is still with me, a sweet five year old.

    No, the truth is my wife had to move away from me to stay
    away from my mental state. I was going insane after the war…after killing so
    much. I was going insane to the point where I couldn’t see what reality was and
    what was fantasy. It went to the point where I would delude that my daughter
    wasn’t in the hospital suffering from a disease and was still in the house
    smiling as a never aging 5 year old. Her heart couldn’t take it anymore and
    moved away from me. She couldn’t bear the fact that I was slowly deteriorating
    away. After that point it was all downfall. I started seeing delusion of her
    with her non-existent boyfriend and delusion of my past self. I started working
    in the police force in order to repent my past. But my past self started
    interfering with me. Then I would fail every mission and bring down my reputation.
    The only reason why I was ever in the force because for some reason the
    military would back me up.

    Reply
  7. Lenore Snow

    This prompt helped me a lot, thank you! My MC has thus far been pining for life on the battlefield, and I hadn’t deciphered her motives for wanting to fight. Now I think I’ve got them pinned down. 😀

    Reply
  8. Line Gregersen

    It Is suck a great advice to interrogate you characters! BUT, I don’t think most people know why they do stuff, and would be able to answer the question “why did you do that?” truthfully. so maybe what you are doing is interrogating yourself as their creator, or the characters subconsciousness?? anyway, always good to be reminded to chat seriously whit you characters ^^

    Reply
  9. Beth

    Why don’t you feel good enough?

    I… I don’t know. I feel like people are waiting for me to screw up. I’m not the prettiest girl, or the skinniest girl. I’m not the smartest or the most athletic. People care about that stuff, don’t they? It seems that way.

    Do you compare yourself to others perhaps too often?

    Probably. My best friend Reagan knows what she wants, and exactly how to get it. I just stand in the sidelines. I’m like her shadow, basically. It’s impossible for me to not compare myself to her. And other people… Like the friends I’ve recently made; they’re all so pretty and perfect. I feel like an outsider when I’m with them.

    Don’t you see your beauty?

    Are you blind? I think you’re blind.

    I think that other people see your beauty just as much as I do. Don’t you agree? What about Riley, don’t you notice that he sees it?

    Riley is just confused about me. It’s probably the simplest thing. I’m a girl, a new one, I’m different to what he’s used to, maybe? He’ll see me as a challenge and he’ll probably like that. Something to conquer. It’s got nothing to do with so called beauty.

    Don’t you think that Riley has good intentions?

    I don’t know what to think. I like Riley. And because I like him, I’m going to assume he doesn’t like me, and leave it there.

    So you’re afraid of getting hurt, then?

    I thought everyone was afraid of getting hurt. I’m not invincible. And thanks to my mental health, I’m even more vulnerable than I should be.

    Mental health has something to do with Riley liking you, does it?

    …No, not at first. But, when gets to know me more as a person, he’ll find out about everything and it will make him run. I guarantee.

    Are you psychic? Do you know what Riley, or other people, are thinking about you?

    I know that everyone is judged for their mental health. So he’s not thinking like this yet, because he doesn’t know me that well. But he will, and my state of mind will freak him out. I’m not normal. And all guys wants somebody normal, not complicated.

    So you think you’re not normal then, because of your mental health?

    That’s exactly what I’m thinking. Ironically, with my not so normal brain, I’m thinking that I’m not so normal.

    My protagonist, Elizabeth, is a lot like me. I’ve given her depression and anxiety so I can relate to her more. I’m talking about my own experiences through her.
    But doing this exercise made me see my character on her own. Not even a part of me.
    Sure, we’re very similar in the sense we could be twins. But I saw her for who I made her to be, and not a product of my imagination.

    Reply
    • NC0207

      This is a very strong piece of writing. The honesty behind it is eye opening and very real. Thank you for sharing.

    • Beth

      Thank you so much 🙂

    • SiddharthTiruvalluri

      Amazing. Reading this helped me form some questions about my own protagonist. Love that you shared this.

    • Beth

      Thank you 🙂

  10. Uncreated Creation

    Q: Why did you join Boom?

    A: Why no?

    Q: Please don’t be avoidant

    A: I was bored, he talked about beating a conqueror with an invincible army and it seemed like the next thing to do, it seemed fun and exciting

    Q: The “next” thing to do?

    A: Yeah, that was clearly important

    Q: Important for what?

    A: Don’t know

    Q: …And why are you always so confrontative and disrespectful? even when people are trying to help you?

    A: Wait, they aren’t trying to help me, they are just acting in ways that I might or might not agree with, but most important, doesn’t seem completly logical, so I want to konw their reasons, just like you want to know mine

    Q: Why did you kill the man with the shotgun

    A: To take the shotgun

    Q: But he was helping you to fight

    A: But I wanted the shotgun

    Q: Did you felt guit

    A: Nope

    Q: Don’t you think it’s wrong

    A: Probably

    Q: If it’s wrong, why did you do it

    A: To take the shotgun

    Q: Why do you wanted the shotgun

    A: To kill the enemys

    Q: The man was alerady doing that, and you were already doing that without the shotgun

    A: I wanted to use the shotgun to kill the enemys, by myself, it’s like a new achievment

    Q: An achievement of what?

    A: Like an imaginary medal tha I wear in my imagination

    Q: Does that have a purpose?

    A: I don’t think so

    Q: WHO ARE YOU AT YOUR CORE?

    A: Whatever I want

    Holy s***t, I can’t control nor predict my character

    Reply
  11. Going for Guiness

    Why would you go so far for your brother?

    You’re kidding, right? He’s my brother, and that should be enough for you. But if it isn’t my parents made me promise to do my best in raising him because they won’t be able to. I swore to them that I would, and they didn’t need to make me make that promise. I will always be there for my brother, like he has for me. We’ve been taking care of each other since I was eight and he was seven, and I kinda sorta always feel responsible for him…

    How far are you willing to go?

    Anything. Nothing’s too far. I’ll die for him, and I-I-I’ll even kill to set him free…

    How did you feel when your parents died?

    Look, can we not talk about this? Jeez, that was insensitive of you, why are you even asking me this? Please, stop asking questions.

    Just answer!

    FINE! I GOT MESSED UP, OKAY??? I WAS ONLY EIGHT, ONLY EIGHT WHEN I HAD TO HEAR MY PARENTS BEG FOR THEIR LIVES BECAUSE OF A FEW GOLD COINS. Listen, I can’t even go a week without a nightmare, and it took me a long time to get myself together just to take care of my brother properly. I just- I just got numb, and-and I hate those nobles and royalties, okay? I hate them , the rich jerks who suck everybody dry. There, I lost my cool, you happy now? Well, get on to the next question!

    Do you want to kill those nobles who killed your parents?

    Yes, yes I do.

    Then why didn’t you when had the chance?

    I don’know, okay? I couldn’t do it… I felt like I was no better than them, and despite them being the biggest bastards in the world, they had kids too. I can’t do that to them… I just can’t kill people… Whether they deserve it or not.

    Reply
  12. Andrea

    Working on a book titled Ruled. My male lead is named Landon.

    So, what is your job?
    ‘I’m the head guard. My job is to protect and serve the Royal family, to put their lives above my own.’

    What made you join this profession?
    ‘Family business.’ He looks away, a slight red tinge to his cheeks.
    Is there more to that?
    He stares back intently, ‘Is there a reason you must know?’
    …hmm I guess not. On to the next question!

    Favourite colour?
    ‘Green’

    Favourite Food?
    ‘Italian.’

    What do you fear?
    Landon crosses his arms, ‘I don’t have any fears.’ he leans back into the chair, legs stretched out in front.
    Everyone has a fear.
    ‘Not me. I’m not paid to have a fear.’
    …okay.

    Do you have a lady…?
    He raises his eyebrows, ‘A lady?’
    Yes, a lady friend, you know.
    Amused, he shakes his head, ‘I’m afraid I don’t.’ he smirks, ‘Could you please elaborate.
    Do you, Landon the Head Guard, have an interest in a woman?
    He’s silent for a few beats. A soft smile tugs at the corner of his lips, ‘I do.’ he goes quiet again.
    What’s her name and how long have you known her?
    ‘I think thats enough questions for now.’ Landon’s stoney expression leaves no room for negotiation.

    As you can see, he’s a bit guarded. Yes, pun intented.

    Reply
  13. harley quinn

    What is your name?
    Its Maria, I don’t really have a last name.

    How long have you lived?
    I am not really sure, I am sorry.

    Do you remember what happened the day you gained powers? If so what do you remember about it?
    Darkness…
    It all started with the sky going dark, father looked ahead and mother grabbed my hand. I
    remember a lot of things the smell of my mother’s perfume, the way my father would wear his tie, the look of fear in my mother’s eye right before she was gone.

    Do you ever find yourself forgetting?
    Sometimes I forget, like dreams distance memories often fade.

    Do you want to forget?
    I know it is foolish to hold on to such memories but for all the pain there is happiness. It was the beginning of such a wonderful life, I’ve met so many wonderful people some young then eventually old.

    Do you ever feel sad?
    Sad? About what? Death? Haha. why would I be sad, it is only a natural part of life if i were to curse death I would have to curse life itself. I’ve seen many men fight this truth… some even using me to meet their desires but it would seem that I am alone in this journey maybe death just doesn’t like me, such a odd man I would love to met him one day I bet he is rather lonely as well. I bet he is handsome, I mean you would have to be right?

    You do know he is often depicted as a skeleton right?
    What? A skeleton? Don’t be ridiculous, why would he be a skeleton? He is the first face we see in life and the last we see in death for what reason would he look like such a creature? You are quite odd.

    Reply
  14. Zoe Rooney

    Why are you helping this resistance?

    Because my dad needed my help, he was a key part of it, so I had to take his place.

    But do you care about the cause?

    Uh, yeah, of course, the world is at stake.

    Do you know anything about TWO?

    They’re an evil organization, trying to take over the world. It’s a dangerous thing that won’t end well. The entire world will be thrown into turmoil.

    What are TWO’s plans? We aren’t sure.

    So why trust this resistance?

    I trust my father.

    What about the one helping you?

    Lena?

    No, the resistance. Do you know anything about them?

    They devote all of their time and money into stopping TWO, many valiant attempts to stop them have taken place, although none were successful. I guess that’s obvious, TWO is still a threat.

    Are the members putting themselves into danger?

    Some of them, yes.

    Are they killing the leaders like you were instructed to do?

    No, I don’t think so.

    Is there a point in doing this?

    I can’t disappoint my father.

    There’s nobody here to disappoint anymore. Who are you trying to impress?

    I don’t want to live with the regret, the feeling of failure, thinking that I could’ve stopped… well, whatever would come. I want to feel like I did something, like I’m wanted. I’ve always wondered what that feels like.

    Reply
  15. Veeane

    Okay. How about we start off with your name. First? Last?

    – Vera Colt.

    Seems like an ambitious name.

    – It has its moments…

    Well, how about family? Do you have any brothers or–?

    – No. I am — was — an only child. Both of my parents are dead.

    Oh. I’m sorry to hear that.

    – Don’t be. They weren’t exactly the best role models.

    So, you feel no remorse?

    – maybe I did once. I used to feel guilt for a lot of things. None of it matters anymore.

    I see…can you tell me why you feel that way?

    – …I put a bullet between his eyes.

    His? You lived with your father then? He hurt you?

    – next question.

    Oh. Okay, how about your career? You were a vigilante, right?

    – i took matters into my own hands, yes.

    How did it feel?

    – it felt…exhilarating. Sneaking out on my own accord, becoming someone else, it brought a different side of me to life. Every night was a night of escaping reality. And I got to stop crime along the way? Seemed like a good job.

    Did you murder any of your targets?

    – my…my targets? No. Not for the first few years.

    What changed?

    – after a while, I became someone I didn’t want to be. I got into drinking, letting loose. I started living too close to the edge. One night I almost passed out drunk in the middle of a bar. I was turning into something dark, y’know? So, I found this guy who said he worked for an addiction help group. He seemed nice, definitely looked the part. And he told me that he could turn this around. “Leave room for better change” he said, “strive for a better world.” that was my first mistake.

    Your…first?

    Yeah. I was pretty credulous back when this all started. All too naive to understand that not everyone who’s friendly is your friend. Turns out sixteen year-old addicts made great dolls. He used my drinking habit as leverage at first. It was like a trust fund of sorts. He gave me what I wanted, I promised to comply.

    Comply?

    – yeah. He put me through these intense training sessions, had me stay at his place, got me ripped and ready. He taught me how to fight. But i didn’t know that he was really teaching me how to kill.

    Was it hard?

    – was it — no. Actually, it was easy to slit their throats, pull the trigger, bash their skulls. It wasn’t hard at all, and that was the worst part. So much power was in my hands. I could do what i wanted. And that scared me.

    What did you do?

    – heh. What any other person would have. I ran. I snuck out of his place, made it a few good blocks down. But he…he had friends in low places.

    Oh.

    – yeah. Oh.

    Did he…?

    – you could say it. People think that it offends the “victims.” but it doesn’t. Not all the time. Go on, ask.

    Um…did he hurt you?

    – …yes. Yes, he did. He was never one for beatings and bruises though. He liked to keep it…different. He would make me strip, and walk on broken glass bare foot. He would hang me by my wrists, carve my back. It was…a tolerance lesson. He liked tp get creative; ice baths, fire. The works.

    Um, Vera. How do you cope?

    – with what?

    You’re a victim. He tortured you for years and you —

    – stop. Let’s get one thing straight. I turned myself in for six years on account of what he made me do. I lived with that shame, still do. But you don’t have the RIGHT to call me something I’m not. Something I will NEVER be!

    I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I–

    *SLAM!*

    *BANG*

    I am NOT a victim.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How to Explore Your Characters’ Motivations | The Writing Wench | Scoop.it - [...] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } thewritepractice.com (via @CAChicoine) - Today, 8:01 [...]
  2. Han Solo, Scarlett O’Hara, and Your Characters: What Makes Them Compelling? | The Write Practice - [...] traits onto a character. You have to work with them and mold their personalities, back stories, and motivations to…
  3. How to Get In Touch With Your Characters (Especially When You Have Writer’s Block) - [...] that’s right. I want you to interview your characters. Ask them questions. What are their families like? What are…
  4. Creating Characters: Providing Motivation | Sweat, Tears and Digital Ink - […] lists a substantial list but I think most classify under the above. The Write Practice has some ideas and…
  5. Characters’ Core: Motivation | Independent Seminar Blog - […] that, I found “How to Explore Characters’ Motivations” by Joe Bunting. In his post, Bunting says that in order to…
  6. Getting Into Their Heads – Indie Around the Web | Leigh Michaels - […] How to Explore Your Character’s Motivations […]
  7. 100 Writing Practice Lessons & Exercises - […] How to Explore Your Characters’ Motivations […]
  8. Do You Nano? | Be Your Note - […] plot. That’s it. No world building, no deep examination of everybody’s inner life and the top five motivators and…
  9. LARP costumeResource Dump: Creating Characters! - LARP costume - […] How to Explore you Character’s Motivation […]
  10. How to Plot a Book: Start With the Antagonist - Kindle Publishing - […] antagonist must have a compelling and watertight motivation for his story goal. This is where you look your antagonist…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Say Yes to Practice

Join over 450,000 readers who are saying YES to practice. You’ll also get a free copy of our eBook 14 Prompts:

Popular Resources

Books By Our Writers

146
Share to...