Writer’s Digest | 4 Ways to Motivate Characters and #Plot

NaNoWriMo Banner 11.1.14
Nancy Kress does a fine job here at Brian Klems’ blog, “The Writer’s Dig”, in explaining the four different types of characters and character motivations there are in fiction. Deciding if your character is static or changing, or if the motivations do, will go a long way toward mapping/outlining your story and its plot.

Read the entire article by clicking the link, and enjoy this excerpt on how understanding the nature of your characters is a step toward understanding the nature of your story.

4 Ways to Motivate Characters and Plot | WritersDigest.com.

Some of your characters will change during the course of your story—let’s call them changers. Others—stayers—will not change significantly in personality or outlook, but their motivations may nonetheless change as the story progresses from situation to situation. Both changers and stayers can have progressive motivations….

When you know the key motivation(s) behind your character and plot, you can write scenes that not only make sense to you and your readers, but also add depth to your story. Because character and plot are intertwined, we’ll refer to the above four as character/plot patterns. Let’s further explore each one.


#NaNoWriMo Day 13: In the Lion’s Den

NaNoWriMo Banner 11.1.14Arabella has gotten Vivi out of her mansion and successfully taken her to her cabin in the woods. So, right now, Vivi and I are exploring Arabella’s home, and it seems to be rather normal–even with a washing machine in the basement and marble counter tops. But she refused to answer Vivienne’s questions in the car on the way over, and she generates a lot of heat when she touches Vivienne. Just stroking her chin, touching her hand or arm, and kissing her hand is enough to create real heat “like a hand inside a thick glove late on a December evening.”

I also noticed a lot of passive writing in this last passage. Waswere, and had keep popping up in my writing, and it will probably need to be addressed when I start editing. Hopefully, it isn’t too prominent in the writing before now; I guess I just kept noticing it when Vivi was describing stuff second-hand. Like her interactions with Arabella, how things looked and felt. Rather than just having her state it, I need to have her experience it. That’s the essence of showing versus telling–reading versus experiencing.

I’m already over 9,000 words for this story, and when I began considering the short story option for this years NaNo challenge, I was expecting maybe 10,000 per story. Well, Colleen came up much shorter than that, but hers was firsthand and she wasn’t interacting with a group of girls–just one and the doctor. There was so much Colleen didn’t know, versus Vivienne’s firsthand account as an eye-witness who has all the information about this situation. And she’s producing mountains of details.

I wrote 1,963 words today, keeping my daily word average over 1800, and I’m making my way towards NaNo’s next word count badge: 25,000. Thankfully, I’m beyond Day 14’s word count, and I’ll hit Day 15’s goal tomorrow as long as I’m able to write.

How are all of you doing so far?

Total Word Count, so far: 24,246/50,000