I had something completely different planned for my post today, but something went wrong with Blogger and I’ve only got an old version of it. So I’ve had to come up with something new. I’ve been thinking a lot about character motivations and desires lately. It’s one of the most important parts of a good story.
I have found I always need something in common with my characters to be able to write them effectively. I also need something that I don’t agree with to make them interesting. Not that I’m a boring person, but fictional characters need several strong traits instead of dozens of minor ones. And I’m a product of my world, a world my characters don’t inhabit.
With that said here are the essential things I need to relate to my characters.
Ambition. This can be a desire to help people, a theory they want to prove, even something self-centred such as raising their status or taking something they feel is theirs. The nature of the ambition doesn’t entirely affect whether I like the person, but a ‘good’ character must have a strong ambition for something right.
Fears. My characters fears are probably the biggest part of myself I put into them. Fear or being alone, fear of never doing anything useful, fear of public speaking. Well that last one is actually a fear that many of my characters shouldn’t have. I have trouble making my main characters articulate and good with confrontation. I don’t make them fear it though. Maybe I should. Helping them overcome it might prove as useful to me as writing about the other fears is.
Loves. Not all my characters love the things I do. But they must have a passion for something. For Aydel it’s her medicine box and her knives; Joane has her running; Natalia, philanthropy and art; Rhesa and her orphans, Leisa and her cooking and sewing. Well those last two especially are more everyday life for Leisa than passions and they certainly are one I have.
Stupidity. Not the best term for it but all my characters seem to have one thing they cling to stubbornly which probably isn’t true. Some I laughed at other almost make me cry. Either way I can’t stand characters which are wishy-washy on everything or characters who are right about everything. Not that they could be right about everything. I’m not.
Justification. This is especially important for villains. I may completely disagree with everything they do, but I have to understand why they’re doing it. Maybe not fully because some people have a very twisted view of reality, but I usually can get my head around it somewhat eventually. It’s the same with my protagonists. She might do something foolish, but it can’t be blatantly so.
Now since It’s already one o’clock here, I think I should just post this whether there are more factors or not. I hope you enjoyed this little look inside my mind.