Character Motivation

Hello Fiction Lovers!

First I would like to apologize for getting this post to you late. It’s midterm season and studying has made me busier than normal. This week I’ve been thinking about character motivation because on of my professors pointed out that writers, typically, seem to focus on more what a character fears or dislikes rather than what they love. She challenged us to come up with three things the main characters in the short stories we are writing for the class love. It was more difficult than I thought it would be.

The challenge served as a reminder that even though what a character fears/dislikes. what bad things happen to them, typically drive a story forward a writer can’t forget to add in good things too. You don’t have to force the good things into the story, just like it’s a bad idea to the same for more tragic things, but knowing what they are and keeping them in mind as you write can help flesh out a character and the story. The character will strive just as much, if not more, to obtain the things they love rather than just escaping the things they fear. Often too fear and bad decisions can come out of love and good intentions. Knowing those things can make your character’s motivation more nuanced and realistic. And that will be more interesting for your readers.

It’s good to remember to let the motivation flow from the story instead of trying to force a trope or other idea to work. It might take you a few tries but the character will let you know why they are doing what they are doing as you write and edit the story. It might seem clunky at first when you are getting the basic idea for the story down but as you flesh out the story and learn more about the characters their motivations will be more clear, and those motivations won’t always be a tragic backstory. A tragic backstory is good for some types of characters but others accidentally became involved with whatever the story is about and are trying to return to their normal life or want to make the best of it, a few had good childhoods and want others to have the same or got bored by it and decided to something a little more exciting. It all depends on the character. Write the story and listen to them.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions! I hope you all have a fun week.

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Story Prompt #5

Scenario Prompt:

This time I thought it would be fun to give a prompt based of the lyrics of a song. The song I picked is by one of my favorite bands, Civil Wars, and is called “Girl With the Red Balloon”. I’ll post the lyrics here but you can also find the song on YouTube. I always wonder about the backstory of the girl whenever I hear this song and how she got to where she is in the pub. Now we can fill that story in if anyone feels inspired.

Feel free to post anything this prompt inspires in the comments or contact me if you have any questions!

Lyrics:

There’s a pub on the south side of town
Time stands still while there’s still wine around
She’s the one you let in out of the cold
The one who’s neer and always alone
Did she let him go,
Or did the four winds blow him away?
Oh does she even know,
She’s the girl with the red balloon?
Keep her glass full of cheap champagne
She will tell of a man with no name
Smoke and mirrors have done her in
She’s in love and she won’t be again
Oh did she let him go,
Or did the four winds blow him away?
Oh does she even know,
She’s the girl with the red balloon?
So lovely
So lonely