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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Motivate Our Characters

I'm always so motivated when I come home from a writers conference. Obviously, the ACFW conference this year has me even more motivated, since I finally got my first contract. 

But motivating me is a lot easier than finding what motivates our characters.

That's trickier. 

I use Debra Dixon's GMC chart to discover my character's motivation. It's not easy. I often mistake a goal for the motivation. It takes time to find the core motivation, but it's worth the trouble.

I've found over the last year or so Motivation is a key element to story. Without it, your plot flounders, your characters aren't layered or real, and the story isn't captivating.

Since I've learned more about plotting through the character's motivation, my outline is easier. Yes, I'm one of those Plotters. However, even if you're a Pantster, knowing your hero's motivation will make writing much easier. You don't hit as many walls.

Motivation opens doors to conflict. And conflict drives a story.

So what have you learned this past year that has heightened your writing?


  1. I just learned that Ane Mulligan got a book deal, and it motivates me to say CONGRATULATIONS!

    As for writing, just trying to learn a little more every day.

  2. Mike, you're back! Let's see what have I learned this year... that when I write in 1st person, it has a more literary feel. When I write in 3rd for some reason I tend to tell just a story without all the pretty writing. SO... I discovered I can write it in 1st to keep that feel and then change it to 3rd after. Very time consuming but it's been helpful.

    1. My WIP that's in first person has a bit of a literary feel, but then I've written a short story in 1st person that doesn't have the same feel. Interesting. But I do know I love 1st person, yet most of my writing has been 3rd. For me, it's how the story wants to be told.

  3. Congrats Ane! I was instructed to give you a big hug at the conference by Gina, but I wasn't there either. Hopefully we will meet one day. I just took a mini course on the GMC at an RWA meeting and loved it. Need to buy the book :)

    1. Thanks, Lori! And you definitely do need to get the book GMC. And order it through Debra's website, you'll pay less there. I know. Sigh.

  4. Thanks so much, Mike! And I hear you on the learning. In fact, this past week at the ACFW conference, I learned some great new things to make my characterization deeper.

  5. Congratulations, Ane! That has to feel so good.

    What I'm learning: The trickiness of creating escalating conflict and not having my MC become unlikable as she endures the tough stuff.

    1. Thanks, Wendy, it does, indeed! And I can relate to you MC remaining likable. Someone once told me as long as the character's motivation is relatable and clearly understood, the reader will put up with a lot. Look at Scarlet O'Hara. ;o)

  6. Wishing you God's abundance, Ane. Congrats!


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