Blog #4 Character Motivation

Woman hands typing in a laptop in a coffee shop“Motivation is the power behind plot.” Elizabeth Moon.

Why do characters act or do as they do? The answer lies with motivation.

Since characters will not act unless motivated, it’s the writer’s job to ensure motivation is retained and understood for forward movement of the storyline. An understanding of the motivation must be ensured not only with the character and writer but must be conveyed in a convincing way to the reader.

Some of the key motivators writers use to drive plot are: greed, resentment, revenge lust, love, glory, vengeance, knowledge, fear, hunger, joy, pain, sadness, guilt – and the list goes on.

Reason or cause usually prompts the character’s actions. But additionally, he/she must possess the requisite skills necessary to carry out the plans. .

If the reader deems the character is “acting out of character” or would not do what is written – the author has failed to deliver. A gardener would not end up in an operating room performing brain surgery. A little exaggerated but you get the point.

Here are a couple of passages from my book, “Son of My Father – A Family Dynasty” revealing a character’s motivation.

“Constant self-examination plagued Christiana, as she tried to measure up, to meet, and to exceed all his expectations. She lived in the shadow of, yet in the likeness of, her father.”

“Marriage and family were overshadowed by Christiana’s career. She had to succeed. Failure was not an option. ‘Barringtons never fail. Barringtons think only of success.’

Jonathan’s quote frequently appeared in her thoughts.”

Welcome your comments and ideas. Thanks for reading.


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