Novel Rocket: NEFARIOUS VS SPONTANEOUS

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NEFARIOUS VS SPONTANEOUS


Laurie Schnebly Campbell's first novel was nominated by Romantic Times as the year's "Best First Series Romance," and her second beat out Nora Roberts for "Best Special Edition of the Year." After six books for Special Edition, she turned her attention to writing non-fiction -- using her research into the nine personality types to help writers create plausible, likable people with realistic flaws. Her other favorite activities include playing with her husband and son, recording for the blind, counseling at a mental health center, traveling to Sedona (the Arizona red-rock town named for her great-grandmother, Sedona Schnebly) and working with other writers. "People ask how I find time to do all that," Laurie says, "and I tell them it's easy. I never clean my house!"

Everybody here will be able to sympathize with such a situation, because pesky characters strike EVERY writer! And somebody who comments today will win help for all their future characters, with free registration to my “Plotting Via Motivation” class (at WriterUniv.com) next month. 
The winner will be announced on Novel Rocket's Facebook page tomorrow. Be sure to like our page! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Novel-Rocket/129877663761335?ref=hl

NEFARIOUS VS SPONTANEOUS 
Plotting evil schemes. Being irresponsible. Where’s the middle ground?   

We all know the risks of being TOO much of a plotter, or TOO much of a pantser. Writers who spend all their time drafting outlines can miss the joy of creative inspiration, and writers who spend all their time freewheeling can miss the joy of finishing a cohesive book.


But of course, nobody is all one or the other. Sometimes we think “I wish I were better at following wherever the muse leads me” or “I wish I were better at coming up with a credible plot,” but finding the middle ground can be tough. 

That’s where motivation comes in. Not our own motivation for writing, but our characters’ motivation for doing whatever they do. 
You already know that, no matter what kind of plot you're building, it's gotta be motivated by your characters in order to feel plausible. It doesn't matter whether you're doing an emotional plot or an action plot or both -- what makes it work is the characters. 
So what IS it that makes your characters do what they do? Or another way of asking that is, what makes anybody do what they do?
There are all kinds of theories of motivation, and they all boil down to the same thing.
We want to be Okay.

Whatever it takes to be okay, that's what motivates us.

Maslow talked about that, saying that to be Okay we first need Food and Water...yep, okay...Shelter...got it...then Safety...and in most books, those issues are pretty well taken care of. Sometimes you'll get characters fleeing the murderer in the North Woods or laid off from the factory job, but food isn't usually a driving motivation. 

So we get into the next level of what people need to be Okay, which is Belonging / Acceptance / Love. Then there's Respect of Others and Self-Respect, and finally there's the drive to Be All You Can Be. Everywhere along that continuum, you've got some great motivators. 
And that matters, because it's the motivation that makes a character interesting. 
Some writers start with the motivation: "let's see, a woman who's motivated by the desire for adventure would be THIS type of person." Other writers start with the character: "my heroine wants to sail to Jamaica, so that must mean she's motivated by adventure." 
Either way works fine. And either way leaves you totally free to write any kind of story you want. 

Say, given this heroine who wants to sail to Jamaica in search of adventure, could your story be full of soul-deep emotion? Absolutely. Dizzying suspense? Yep. Heartwarming faith? Yep. Quirky humor? Yep. Spine-tingling terror? Yep.
It all depends on how you write it.
So in that case, why does the heroine's motivation even matter?
Because it's what makes her credible. Same as we can't have pink-elephant aliens showing up in some 14th-century castle without sacrificing a bit of credibility, neither can we have this woman sailing off to Jamaica without SOME plausible motivation.
And that's where it's easy for us authors to fall down on the job. We love this heroine who's rigging out her sailboat, we love that she's going to Jamaica, and we know that on the way she'll meet this incredibly witty sailor, there'll be a pirate attack -- oh, and the pirate ship will have a yellow parrot named Sidney! -- it's all taking shape. We KNOW it'll work, because we can SEE this story. 

But it's that dazzling clarity which can get us into trouble. Because our readers weren't IN on this first glorious flash of inspiration. They can't see that wonderful vision. All they see is a heroine rigging out her sailboat for a trip to Jamaica, and they have no idea why she's doing it.
Unless the readers GET her desire for adventure, they're gonna feel out of the loop. They might not know why the story isn't working for them, but they're missing her motivation. 
And motivation is what makes a book memorable.
For some writers, it comes so naturally that they never even question how their characters’ motivation will feed into the plot. (Which sometimes leaves them at loose ends, wondering what on earth can HAPPEN during their plot.) 
For others, it’s more of a tack-on because their strength is in plotting. (Which sometimes leaves them wondering how to explain WHY this character did something that seems senseless but is actually integral to the plot.) 
Either way, motivation is vital. And yet we’ve all found ourselves in trouble with motivation every now and then. So that’s my question for you:
When was the last time you found yourself dealing with a problem character? Who was this person? What did he or she do? How did you resolve the situation? 
Everybody here will be able to sympathize with such a situation, because pesky characters strike EVERY writer!
And don't forget ... somebody who comments today will win help for all their future characters, with free registration to my “Plotting Via Motivation” class (at WriterUniv.com) next month. 
The winner will be announced on Novel Rocket's Facebook page tomorrow. Be sure to like their page! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Novel-Rocket/129877663761335?ref=hl
Meanwhile, I can’t wait to see those pesky characters on parade -- because it’s always a lot more fun to read about other people’s problems than to focus on our own. <grin>
Laurie ~ who's hoping today will be slow at work so I can check email sooner than lunchtime...but don’t worry if it takes a while to hear back; I’m definitely checking in!

69 comments :

  1. For me, it's always my protagonist. I get halfway through the novel and discover I've fallen in love with a secondary character and developed her better than my protag (yes, it's always a woman...we'll discuss my issues later). So I usually go back and include something in my protag's background that would hit close to home for me. Loss of his wife, kids in trouble with alcohol, something along those lines. Then he becomes richer to me, especially if he feels responsible for the problem. Thanks for the post, Ane.

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    1. Ron, it's handy that you know what'll happen at that stage of the book -- and that you've come up with an effective way to fix it. Going back into your protagonist's history is smart; although the character might wish you'd left things alone! :)

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  2. Great post. I always have trouble with my motivation for my characters. I'm trying to learn how to plot vs being a pantser but it's never quite the right fit, though thanks to Laurie's classes I'm getting better.

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    1. Cindy, you do a FABULOUS job combining plotting with pantsing -- you consistently have the best "skeleton" outlines that leave you free to let the story play out in all kinds of ways!

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  3. I'm still pretty much a newb to the process of writing, well mostly finishing, a novel. The ones dead and buried with the dust rhinos under the bed? They were the ones that didn't have my MC's motivation lined out in the beginning. The one I'm close to actually finishing now? I had the motivation lined out in the beginning. Coincidence? I think not. I still have a lot of work to do, but if I start to drift, I still have that kernel to keep me on track: "No, she wouldn't do THAT and here's why!"

    The first ones were also ones I tried to totally "pants" and that didn't work for me at all. I feel much more comfortable with an outline so I don't wander off and drop those pink elephants in where they don't belong.

    As always a great post, Laurie!

    Callene

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    1. Callene, I love your elephants and rhinos...you've got me hoping your next book will be a jungle adventure. :) And the difference your "kernel" makes really SHOWS; it's a lot easier to stay with the story flow!

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  4. I need to take your PVM workshops again, Laurie. They were SO helpful the first time, completely changing my relationship with story arc. Sadly, bad habits tend to creep back up on us, and I seem to need another good whacking upside the head in your inimitable, humorous way. :-D

    As for "problem children" characters: Which of mine ISN'T a constant source of aggravation? Malcontents, the lot of 'em. I've found, though, that unexpectedly killing off one or two works wonders to bring the survivors into line. ;-)

    Good to "see" you again!

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    1. Kathleen, you're one of the few writers I know who isn't afraid to kill off a few malcontents -- I'm always awed by that willingness to do whatever it takes for a good story! (It's one thing to advise it; another to actually wield the machete. :) )

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  5. Laurie, you always offer such words of wisdom. I don't know whether my characters give me more trouble or I give them. LOL. But nailing down their motivation never comes easy!

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    1. Adite, I think it might be a toss-up with who gives each other more trouble -- they don't always cooperate at first, but you sure don't make life easy on them. Which is just what it takes for a sizzling revenge tale, so that's a win-win!

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  6. My problem used to be with finding a motivation; lately my problem has been that I come up with too many possibilities for a motivation and I have a really hard time tightening up the story. I want to give my heroine neglectful parents, and a bad marriage, and loss of money, and all other kinds of angst. It doesn't help that I'm such a pantser, I guess. What I find myself doing is starting over again a lot, which probably isn't the ideal way to handle it. Hmm, I guess I need motivation, too! :-)

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    1. Linda, you've got PLENTY of motivation for yourself -- it's all kinds of fun to toss lots of possibilities in the air! But as to motivation for picking just the strongest one...hmm, Making Life Easier For The Author might go pretty high on the list. :)

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  7. It is usually that annoying internal motivation that keeps shifting on me. I start out thinking I know what's going on with my characters, and then poof! their REAL issue starts working its way out.

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    1. Rowan, isn't that aggravating? I always think if these people were paying us by the hour, the way they would a top-notch psychiatrist, they might be a bit more quick to reveal their issues!

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  8. Anonymous9:41 AM

    My most uncooperative character is still under my bed. This heroine will not take shape and stay there. Every time I think I have her figured out, she surprises me again. I need to win this class so I will check Facebook tonight.

    Thank you!
    Becky

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    1. Becky, let's hope she's the kind of character you can trust under your bed! As long as she hasn't yet morphed into an ax murderer or zombie, no problem...but you might want to avoid writing horror thrillers. :)

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  9. Debora Dale9:45 AM

    Great insight as always, Laurie! I had a character, my heroine, whose (goal and) motivation seemed solid to me. She wanted things to remain as they were. She wanted to remain under the radar, going about her business without the upheaval of change. A scandal some years prior had sent her into hiding and now new layers of that scandal were being uncovered. She had to face it but did not want to deal with the pain of another trial by media, so she dug in, resisting change and exposure. YOU, because you are so wise, reminded me that keeping the status quo isn’t an active goal. I needed another goal for her so I had to dig deeper into her motivation. What, exactly was she trying to avoid and why? What exactly did she want for her future? And why? Bottom line is that she wanted to remove herself from the scandal and the only way to do that was to clear her name. Ah-ha! Motivation. :-) (and later I realized her fear of getting out there to clear her name was actually her conflict. Now…what caused that fear… )

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    1. Oh, Debbie, as I started reading I found myself thinking "but wait, the desire for status quo isn't really -- " and then, hurray, saw you'd already GOTTEN that. So then, yes, COOL action and motivation and conflict and goal lining up!

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  10. If anyone can motivate a person to write better stories it's Laurie. Taking a workshop from her is like a dose of jet propelled muscle juice. You will learn all facets of the subject she's teaching and go home dying to try out all you've learned.
    My biggest problem is writing a reaction in a sentence before the motivation. Ha! I'm lucky to have a critique partner who is spot on about pointing those M/R problems out in my chapters.
    I wish Laurie was still writing books to read for pleasure, too. Her stories were keepers.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Roz...coming from you, that means a LOT! And don't you love critique partners who can identify a particular weakness and nail it every time, while still enjoying the rest of the story? :)

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  11. What do you do with a character who's main motivation is not to be involved in the plot?

    I have a story - an actual finished first draft, though it suffers from a bad case of Kitchen Sink Syndrome; it doesn't need to be revised so much as rewritten - in which the main character is just finishing up his training as a sort of magically-enhanced warrior. What he wants, basically, is to be left alone in his safe place. (Admittedly, "safe" is a relative term, since after he graduates he'll be living at the school when he's not going out on expeditions with the other mercenaries, but that's what he knows and is comfortable with.)

    Now, as the author, I'd like to drag him out into the larger world - there are areas to explore, people to meet, secrets to discover, and just possibly a kingdom to rebuild... and he wants nothing to do with any of it. He just wants to go out, do the job, and come back home. I've experimented with at least a half-dozen ways to pry him out of his shell, but so far I haven't found a dynamic that works for me.

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    1. Michael, that's a great problem -- all kinds of room for exploration. And it seems like what forces this guy will be external the whole way (gotta save the world), while his resistance will be internal. So one blowout scene where Int & Ext come head-to-head will be enough to satisfy followers of each journey!

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  12. I have a hero who wants to be a time traveler. I don't write time travel. Hmmm... I never stopped to wonder why he wanted to be a time traveler. Reading through this, maybe he thrives on complications... If he wants complications, I can certainly give him complications. Thanks, Laurie! Great post!

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    1. Laurel, what fun to see the whole issue solved in a single paragraph -- and it sounds to me like a great solution! Here's hoping you'll make him VERY happy with all those intriguing complications...

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  13. I am new to writing, and my biggest problem is with character development. One of my problems is that I usually can relate so much to ALL of my characters that it is difficult to reconcile the fact that they might not all get happy endings. I let one of them drown the other day and it literally ruined my day, although I KNOW that it moved the plot forward and did a ton to develop my protagonist.

    Maybe I just need to grow a backbone. :)

    Thank you for such a wonderful post!
    Stephanie Nelson



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    1. Oh, Stephanie, you're sure not alone...millions of writers hate seeing bad things happen to people they love. (Well, heck, we all feel that way about real-life people.) It can help to focus on the reader who'll enjoy being moved by the story, rather than on the character who has to suffer for this moving experience. But you're right that it's hard to switch sides on a moment's notice!

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  14. You do realize that I now have to find a feasible plot that will allow me to drop pink elephants into a 14th century castle, don't you? ;)

    Problem character? I think it might be easier to list the ones that aren't a problem. But then, those few characters are the totally boring ones.

    With the story I'm currently working on, I know the plot from start to finish--both the action and the romance arcs--but I have no real idea 'why' the hero and heroine make the decisions they do. Guess it's time to take Plot Via Motivation again.

    For those wondering if the class is worthwhile, I say absolutely positively YES! I take it any time I run into trouble with a story I'm working on. That being said, I guess I'll see you next month, Laurie, so you can help me get Hannah and Caleb into line. :)

    Vicki

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    1. Vicki, you're one of the few writers I know who actually MIGHT be able to get a 14th-century castle into the plot with some plausibility...now I can't wait to see about the elephants. :) And I like your observation that "the boring ones aren't a problem" almost as much as I like your news that you and Hannah & Caleb will be on board next month!

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  15. Hi Laurie--

    In my day job, I teach health care management and much of what we do is talk about motivation. One motivator that is sometimes overlooked is the need for achievement. McClellan's Need for Achievement (nAch) fits nicely with Maslow's Need for Self Actualization. So in an novel, a woman who wants to be a great business success, but it's the 1800s and ladies don't behave THAT way, is a nice character driven conflict. Likewise a man in the 1800's whose father wants him to stay down on the family farm, but he wants to build a big business is also going to have bad conflicts with his nAch. I think we need to get that man and woman together, don't you?? Happy hump day!

    Sharon (who is all about self actualization, now that all her lower order needs are met!)

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    1. Sharon, now I'm dying to read more about McClellan -- I almost used the Maslow diagram here but couldn't find a royalty-free graphic. And you're so right about the desire to "be all you can be" offering fabulous potential for conflict...although the strictures of society sure haven't held back YOUR heroines!

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    2. Here's a quick look http://www.netmba.com/mgmt/ob/motivation/mcclelland/

      Thanks for your kind words. My gals do like to kick a##. ;)

      Sharon

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    3. Wow, that is a COOL site -- thanks! I'm already looking at my co-workers and thinking "yep"..."yep, classic"..."yep"...

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  16. Amanda Pumilia11:25 AM

    I'm a plotter who always knows what I want to happen in my story, but my characters' motivations are always tough. I find it really hard to pick a driving motivation that causes someone to do so many different things. I was able to find my current characters' motivations in Laurie's Plotting via motivation class. She really helped me give them more depth which allowed them to become so much more realistic. Reading lectures like this one always reminds me to remember the motivation when I'm writing or know one will relate to my characters.

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    1. Amanda, good for you on recognizing that you're one of those writers for whom Plot Comes First! That's totally okay, and you're smart to remember that adding the characters' motivation during the planning (rather than the editing) stages will give readers -- even those who care only about the plot -- an extra touch of credibility.

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  17. Laurie,

    Motivation is usually the hardest thing for me, but now that I've got it, I'm surprised at how easy it was to see. (That's largely due to your motivation class I took last year. Thankyouverymuch!)

    I've loosely outlined the book but am also trying to be a pantster as I go along, to let my characters determine what happens. I'm still early in the book but I've found that I have several fascinating characters and am afraid I'll have to nix one or more of them. But I'm moving ahead with who I have and I assume it'll become clear as I go along.

    My question is, though, do I need to figure out the motivation for characters who aren't major characters but who aren't completely minor? The florist who appears in one scene is definitely minor-- no need to examine her motivation except that she wants to provide pretty flowers for the main character for free. But then there's a new friend of the main character who keeps showing up in every chapter, while the old friend is becoming less important. I suppose I should make sure I know both motivations?

    FYI: My genre is women's fiction so there's less emphasis on romance and more on relationships, which is why these women friends are important. But I'm also wondering if one/both of them has become too important and is in danger of taking over the story...Or if I should just nix the old friend in favor of the new...Hmm...

    Sorry to ramble. It's that kind of day.

    Thanks,
    LeAnne Martin

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    1. LeAnne, you've got one of those problems that's as fun as a neighborhood party -- a chance for meeting people you don't yet know, but who might become a big part of your life. :) And you're right on target in thinking that knowing their motivations will be helpful as the story continues to unfold!

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Oops, I got Amanda's out of order and put it in the right place...I'm only explaining that because whenever I see the author has removed a comment I can't help wondering what it was!

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  19. Laurie,

    This post made me stop and think long and hard about my WIP. My heroine's motivation is very clear - make up for a past mistake by succeeding at this mission - but my hero's motivation is as murky as mud. Yes, he's assigned to work with her to lure out the would-be assassin. Yes, he resists including her because of her past mistake. But I now realize I have to go much deeper. Why is he so resistant, beyond her failure at her last assignment? There has to be more to it than that! I've got a lot of work to do!

    Leslie

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    1. Leslie, good for you on figuring out the need for depth before you send in the final draft! I love your line "There has to be more to it than that" -- that's exactly the kind of remark you DON'T want readers to make, and it's great that you've spotted the need for an answer in plenty of time. :)

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  20. Great points. Character motivation is, I've learned, the key to any story. And this leaves me greatly looking forward to the Plotting Via Motivation workshop!

    The action just wasn't flowing right in my WIP till I realized I'd somehow written my heroine as a secondary character. She wasn't taking the reins with her own motivation at all. Ironically, as I work to fix this I've realized the action still works and the end point is still the same - it just makes more sense and is far more fun to read (and write).

    Cheers,
    Deana

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  21. Deana, what a great illustration of the flaw in an un-motivated protagonist -- I like your description of how she wasn't "taking the reins." And even better is your realization that the action and finale can still work fine even WITH the motivation...talk about a Happy Ending!

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  22. Interesting enough I recently learned to pay attention to pesky characters. In my current middle grade novel I had a very minor character keep popping up. I couldn't get this character out f my head so I had to ask, why? This character plays a larger role in the novel and greatly compliments my protagonist. What seemed like a pesky character really served to balance out the story. So sometimes I think it is worth to look at why a character is being pesky. It may not always be a true problem.

    Looking forward to your March class! This is the only writing class I ever repeat. I always learn something new!

    Natalie C. Markey

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    1. Natalie, how cool that you discovered why that minor character deserved more space -- nice putting a pesky person to work! And I can't wait to see what you'll be plotting next month; it's always such a treat watching stories take shape. :)

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  23. Laurie,

    I can't say enough how awesome your classes are and how much I've been helped by your work. I'm definitely signing up for your Plotting By Motivation and your Master Class. It's the kick in the butt I need to get that next novel plotted right. Also, whether it's because I'm absorbing it even more or because you've added in something new, I find there's always something new to be learned-- even though this will be like my 6th or 7th time taking it.
    Thank you thank you thank you for offering these great classes

    Sheryl

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  24. Sheryl, how cool that I'll get to see you in March AND in April. :) It's fun thinking about how many stories you've plotted over the years, and exhilarating to see them moving from beginner work to Golden Heart finalist work to...whatever's next!

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  25. Hey Laurie!

    You always get me thinking about my heroines! I have one heroine who has an immediate need for survival, but as she goes along in the story her true, deeper motivation becomes clear to her and to me! I think I knew what it was deep down myself, but had to get her through some other trials before she was able to grow into the realization and take action on it.

    I have another heroine is very young, so I think it's going to have to be a matter of remembering what was important at that age, in addition to the regular coming of age pains, independence and identity, while stll maintaining necessary dependence? I''ll have to work on her i think.

    Thanks for the post!
    Charlotte

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  26. Charlotte, it makes sense that your heroine's motivation becomes clearer to YOU as it does to HER...same as with all of us who grow up gradually discovering who we are and what we want from the world beyond just immediate survival. And, boy, isn't it amazing (although sometimes extremely annoying) how trials help us realize that?

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  27. I'm just in the middle of trying to analyze my protagonist AND Mrs. Protagonist. I have their "wants," but need to figure out why those wants are so important to them. This post has already helped... now I must check out the class too!

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    1. Janice, you're right on target in seeing what a big deal it is to know why Mr. & Mrs. Protagonist want what they want. Beyond the food-clothing-shelter we all need for survival, it's the NEXT wants that make individual people so intriguing!

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  28. I don't think I could ever say enough about Laurie's Plot Via Motivation Classes--I was a panther, writing myself into rabbit holes then backing up only to find myself falling down another one. This class taught me how to take a deep look at my characters' motivations and build my plot around conflicts that arise from those motivations. Be prepared to dig deeper, into the very marrow of your characters, but it's well worth it.

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    1. Patty, wow, digging deep into the marrow is a fitting image for arranging the plot skeleton -- I keep wishing I could think of something less gritty (even though we can be pretty sure nurses don't mind such things!), but you totally nailed it here. :)

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  29. Anonymous2:48 PM

    Laurie, I love your posts! They always trigger some cool insights...and totally underscore my own motivation for taking all the classes you offer!

    So, Problem Hero - I haven't been able to figure out this guy. I can make him walk through the scenes with the heroine and while he reacts the right way, I'm still not sure exactly why, motivation-wise. But then I read your line about motivation and Belonging/Acceptance/Love... Ah-ha.

    I think... So, deep down, he COULD really wants all of that (from family and community), but just not in the way he **perceives** it being offered. As in, too high a cost, too many expectation or restrictions. He's looking for acceptance and love that's not conditional upon behavior. Does that make sense?

    And off to sign up for a refresher of Plotting Via Motivation...(yay!)
    Kathleen McRae

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    1. Kathleen, you're absolutely right in thinking this guy's definition of acceptance-love is different from what his family & community are offering...he wants unconditional, and he can't get it? BIG turmoil -- now I can't wait to see if you bring him with you next month or create a whole new story; either way will be fun. (Yay is right!)

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  30. Oh problematic characters, I have those by the bucketful lol The latest one is a witch, literally, who excels at matching everyone up, except for her. She can't do anything magical to help herself, so when something happens, she assumes interference from an outside source. Her sister keeps chirping away at me, but I can't get much out of her lol :)

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  31. Lisa, I've gotta wonder if the talkative sister explains why THIS witch is so silent...seems like anytime there are siblings with totally different behavior patterns, there's a hint of decisions made so long ago the characters might not even remember it. Which can be an enormously powerful motivation!

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    1. Hadn't thought of that. Hmmm, may have to take them down memory lane and see what they aren't telling me. :) Thanks Laurie!

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  32. Anonymous4:52 PM

    Seeing as I am writing historical fiction, I have another problem: making sure that my character's motivation is credible for the times in which she lived. My inner voice keeps me second guessing myself. For example, I'll hear: "Come on, would she really stay quiet when she has witnessed such an injustice?" Then I have to ask if what's seen as an injustice today would have been in the past.

    Laurie Weeks

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    1. Laurie, it IS hard to grasp how historical people perceived things that we take for granted today. Reading books or magazines from another era, even if it was only 50 years ago, can make us think "aw, come on, REALLY?" when thinking has changed so much. Some readers have an easier time grasping the difference; others might find themselves thinking "naw, this can't be right" -- so the question is, how badly do you want to convince them? Which is where writing historicals gets so tricky...

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    2. I have a newspaper article from the late 1800s from Albany, NY. It's about a scandal where a state representative has an affair with a state Senator's wife. The account is hilariously funny, because it's so melodramatic. The reported looking through the transom, etc. The tone is appalled and right for the era. I'll have to show it to you next time you come through Atlanta.

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    3. Oh, boy, that'll be this summer -- any chance we'll get to cross paths at RWA National? I'll keep my fingers crossed!

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  33. I've loved the PVM class and I'm taking the masters class for it in April. I can't wait!!!

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  34. Ane, that's wonderful to hear -- I'll look forward to seeing you in April, along with anybody else who was inspired by the March class to go for an even MORE in-depth look at how to plot their book. Thanks for inviting me to NovelRocket today!

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  35. Anonymous7:02 PM

    Laurie, Your posts and your classes are always so insightful and energizing. You have that unique talent of breaking down the parts and explaining difficult concepts so clearly. I truly admire what a skilled writer and a wonderful instructor you are. Thanks once again for being so generous with your knowledge!!
    Robin Kramme

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    1. Oh, Robin, coming from a (does "produced" mean the same as "published" in stage language?) playwright, that's lovely to hear -- thanks so much! With any luck, you'll get some inspiration for your next batch of characters...although, hmm, maybe not if they're luggage. :)

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  36. Thanks, Laurie, for the fabulous blog post. Great information as usual. I'm already signed up for the PVM class and looking forward to it. You're the best!

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    1. Mary, it'll be great seeing you in PVM -- you're already as good as a veteran at using the nickname; it gets tiresome spelling out Plotting Via Motivation over and over again. I can't wait to see what story you bring and/or build in there!

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  37. Anonymous10:25 PM

    I’m a pantster who thought I needed to become a plotter if I ever wanted to finish anything—a depressing thought since plotting sounded like another word for restriction. Then, a writer friend recommended the beginning PvM class and I signed up. Hooked, I later took the master class.

    Those classes changed my writing life. I learned that nailing characters’ motivations before writing is about setting foundations, not limits. It’s freeing. Since finishing the classes last year, I’ve completed two short stories, two full length novels, and am working on a third. I’m amazed and so grateful.

    Laurie, I’ll be working my way through all your classes.
    Cara

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    1. Cara, wow, I love your line about "setting foundations, not limits" -- that's such a fabulous description, you've got me wishing I'd written it! And I'm delighted that you've found such a useful way of working...how cool to see the payoff piling up. :)

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