My Passion's Pen

Helping to polish what your passion pens.

Novel Boot Camp – Lecture #5: Character Motivation

Ellen Brock

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We all have motivations – the things that make us do what we do. But it’s not entirely uncommon (okay, it’s really common) for writers to not put enough thought into their characters’ motivations.

After all, motivation is easy right? Bad guys are motivated by evil. Good guys are motivated by good. Easy peasy.

Not so fast! Motivation is a vital component of a successful novel. Weak motivation can not only reduce the effectiveness of your story, it can completely ruin it!

Plot-Dictated Motivation

The plot dictating the characters’ motivations is one of the worst things that can happen to your novel. You can write the most interesting twists and turns with a premise that has “bestseller” written all over it, but if the characters’ actions aren’t authentic, it will fall completely and horribly flat.

A lot of people believe that authentic actions come from well developed characters, but character…

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