July 28, 2014
uneditededit:

Character Motivation and Consistency:  
So lets take a moment to talk about character consistency.  This is something that I find a lot of people have a hard time with and a lot of it has to do with the actual development of the character in itself.  When making a character, we pick out traits and experiences that define our character.  All of these things including flaws and talents are important but something that people tend to forget with picking out a character is what their motivation is.  

Author Orson Scott Card reminds us “We never fully understand other people’s motivations in real life.  In fiction, however, we can help our readers understand our characters’ motivations with clarity, sometimes even certainty. This is one of the reasons why people read fiction—to come to some understanding of why other people act the way they do.”

Why is Knowing Motivation Important in Writing?:
This essentially, explains to us why characters act the way they do.  Choices are determined by the motivation of the character.  They are a guide in the choices they make because where they want to go or what they want determines what choices they are going to make.  Very very VERY seldom does anyone make a choice at random. By knowing your characters primary motivation, the choices that they make will remain consistent (Even if they are not the ‘right’ choices.  
Basic External and Internal Motivations:  

EXTERNAL: Bold-face is obverse aspect (stuff in parens = goals, effects, or other association)
Survival/safety; Fear of the world (food, water, escape from danger)
Physical comfort; gluttony (shelter, warmth, good food, health)
Pleasure; hedonism (sex, great food, culture, games)
Dominance; tyranny (power, social standing, competition, respect)
Acquisitiveness; greed (wealth, materialism, collecting, excellence)
Curiosity; voyeurism (learning, searching, investigating)
Mastery; perfectionism (excellence, conquest, discipline, achievement)
Reproduction; profligacy (children, creativity, family-building)
INTERNAL:
Autonomy; isolation (self-sufficiency, freedom, non-confinement)
Affiliation; conformity (security, cooperation, loyalty, clan)
Love; lust/ownership (connection, passion, sex, mirroring, approval, giving)
Revenge; justice (righting wrongs, recognition of grievance, vengeance)
Guilt; denial of guilt (responsibility, shame, punishment, redemption, forgiveness)
Identity; self-centeredness (self-esteem, self-knowledge, self-protection)
Surcease; conflict avoidance (peace, escape from anxiety, death)
Spirituality; fetishism (religion, transcendence, transformation)
Growth; decay, aging (learning, maturation, wisdom)
Ambition; insecurity/anxiety (fear of failure, inferiority, stress)
Vindication; rationalization (success, proving self, apology)

The Difference in between a Goal and Motivation:

The goal is like the flower… the motivation is the roots.
The goal is the outward manifestation of the motivation. It is concrete, measurable, and specific. You don’t know when you’ve fulfilled the motivation: “I want success” isn’t measurable– what’s success?  But you know when you’ve achieved a goal:  ”I want to be on the New York Times bestseller list–” That’s measurable. You’ll know when you reach it.
Just keep in mind that while the goal is the external manifestation of the motivation, the connection is not always a straight or clear one.  You can have a goal that is destructive and against your true motivation– “looking for love in all the wrong places” is an example. Or you can have a laudatory goal for a selfish or twisted motivation– “I want to be first in my class to show my father up!”
Motivation is the past; Goal is the future; Conflict is the present.

Distinguish between MOTIVATION and ACTION:

Remember that motivation exists to inspire the character to make choices and take actions.  If you’ve been told your protagonist is “too passive”, it’s likely what’s lacking is motivation that leads to action. 
Every action, however small, should be motivated.  If the motivation is obvious, then you might not have to show it (we assume that she’s running from that tiger for survival). 
Compare the external (obvious) motivation to the goal and/or actions.  If they don’t match, an internal motivation is probably in force. What hidden desire or fear is influencing actions? An alternative reason for motivation/action mismatch: You’re trying to make an original character act in stereotypical ways.
And keep this in mind: Heroism and villainy are in the action, not the motivation.  Heroes do heroic things, they don’t just intend to do them.  And villains do bad things even if they have the best of intentions.

Taking all of these things into account, here are three exercises that I found a while back and use to help figure out character motivations:

1. Real People as a template: 
Make a list of 5 people you know really well. Beside each, make notes about how they:
react to stress
experience happiness,
treat other people.
After that, list what motivates each of these behaviors. Try to be as factual as possible, drawing from things you know; for things you’re unsure of, use common sense to hypothesize.
A person might make it their goal to treat others with respect because of religious beliefs, or maybe because they were disrespected in the past. Someone might react poorly to stressful situations because they have a deep-seated fear of failure, stemming from a past experience.
2. Characters from Literature:
List 5 characters from literature and what motivated their actions throughout their respective stories.
For example, Shakespeare’sHamlet. His thoughts are motivated by revenge (because his uncle secretly killed his father), along with anger, sadness and confusion (because his mother married his uncle so soon after his father’s death).
Add to this a host of other factors, and you have a well-developed character you can understand.
3. Self reflection: 
Write paragraphs to describe
 your most frightening experience
 your happiest experience,
your most stressful experience, and how you reacted to each situation.
After, list all the factors that motivated your behavior. How is your personality shaped by your motivations?

During the story (Or role play) it is important to remember these character motivations when your character makes choices.  That is really what this is about; identifying the motivations that make your character act the way that they do.  
During the plot, motivations may change, and should actually shift for the character to develop, but never all at once and never out of the blue.  Still the back story that drives your characters motivations will always be part of them.  
For instance; I write a character whose past has made her a survivalist but over the course of a year she shifts to protection of the family that she has developed.  However this took a full year to happen and her motivation of survival was never put on the back burner.  Instead it just expanded to protection of the group and not just herself.  Her fear of lose over this new family is what really drives her.
And there you have it: Keeping your character consistent through their motivation.

uneditededit:

Character Motivation and Consistency:  

So lets take a moment to talk about character consistency.  This is something that I find a lot of people have a hard time with and a lot of it has to do with the actual development of the character in itself.  When making a character, we pick out traits and experiences that define our character.  All of these things including flaws and talents are important but something that people tend to forget with picking out a character is what their motivation is.  

Author Orson Scott Card reminds us “We never fully understand other people’s motivations in real life.  In fiction, however, we can help our readers understand our characters’ motivations with clarity, sometimes even certainty. This is one of the reasons why people read fiction—to come to some understanding of why other people act the way they do.”

Why is Knowing Motivation Important in Writing?:

This essentially, explains to us why characters act the way they do.  Choices are determined by the motivation of the character.  They are a guide in the choices they make because where they want to go or what they want determines what choices they are going to make.  Very very VERY seldom does anyone make a choice at random. By knowing your characters primary motivation, the choices that they make will remain consistent (Even if they are not the ‘right’ choices.  

Basic External and Internal Motivations:  

EXTERNAL: 
Bold-face is obverse aspect (stuff in parens = goals, effects, or other association)

  • Survival/safety; Fear of the world (food, water, escape from danger)
  • Physical comfort; gluttony (shelter, warmth, good food, health)
  • Pleasure; hedonism (sex, great food, culture, games)
  • Dominance; tyranny (power, social standing, competition, respect)
  • Acquisitiveness; greed (wealth, materialism, collecting, excellence)
  • Curiosity; voyeurism (learning, searching, investigating)
  • Mastery; perfectionism (excellence, conquest, discipline, achievement)
  • Reproduction; profligacy (children, creativity, family-building)


INTERNAL:

  • Autonomy; isolation (self-sufficiency, freedom, non-confinement)
  • Affiliation; conformity (security, cooperation, loyalty, clan)
  • Love; lust/ownership (connection, passion, sex, mirroring, approval, giving)
  • Revenge; justice (righting wrongs, recognition of grievance, vengeance)
  • Guilt; denial of guilt (responsibility, shame, punishment, redemption, forgiveness)
  • Identity; self-centeredness (self-esteem, self-knowledge, self-protection)
  • Surcease; conflict avoidance (peace, escape from anxiety, death)
  • Spirituality; fetishism (religion, transcendence, transformation)
  • Growth; decay, aging (learning, maturation, wisdom)
  • Ambition; insecurity/anxiety (fear of failure, inferiority, stress)
  • Vindication; rationalization (success, proving self, apology)

The Difference in between a Goal and Motivation:

The goal is like the flower… the motivation is the roots.

The goal is the outward manifestation of the motivation. It is concrete, measurable, and specific. 
You don’t know when you’ve fulfilled the motivation: “I want success” isn’t measurable– what’s success?  But you know when you’ve achieved a goal:  ”I want to be on the New York Times bestseller list–” That’s measurable. You’ll know when you reach it.

Just keep in mind that while the goal is the external manifestation of the motivation, the connection is not always a straight or clear one.  You can have a goal that is destructive and against your true motivation– “looking for love in all the wrong places” is an example. 
Or you can have a laudatory goal for a selfish or twisted motivation– “I want to be first in my class to show my father up!”

Motivation is the past; Goal is the future; Conflict is the present.

Distinguish between MOTIVATION and ACTION:

Remember that motivation exists to inspire the character to make choices and take actions.  If you’ve been told your protagonist is “too passive”, it’s likely what’s lacking is motivation that leads to action. 

Every action, however small, should be motivated.  If the motivation is obvious, then you might not have to show it (we assume that she’s running from that tiger for survival). 

Compare the external (obvious) motivation to the goal and/or actions.  If they don’t match, an internal motivation is probably in force. What hidden desire or fear is influencing actions? 
An alternative reason for motivation/action mismatch: You’re trying to make an original character act in stereotypical ways.

And keep this in mind: 
Heroism and villainy are in the action, not the motivation.  Heroes do heroic things, they don’t just intend to do them.  And villains do bad things even if they have the best of intentions.

Taking all of these things into account, here are three exercises that I found a while back and use to help figure out character motivations:

1. Real People as a template: 

Make a list of 5 people you know really well. Beside each, make notes about how they:

  1. react to stress
  2. experience happiness,
  3. treat other people.

After that, list what motivates each of these behaviors. Try to be as factual as possible, drawing from things you know; for things you’re unsure of, use common sense to hypothesize.

A person might make it their goal to treat others with respect because of religious beliefs, or maybe because they were disrespected in the past. Someone might react poorly to stressful situations because they have a deep-seated fear of failure, stemming from a past experience.

2. Characters from Literature:

List 5 characters from literature and what motivated their actions throughout their respective stories.

For example, Shakespeare’sHamlet. His thoughts are motivated by revenge (because his uncle secretly killed his father), along with anger, sadness and confusion (because his mother married his uncle so soon after his father’s death).

Add to this a host of other factors, and you have a well-developed character you can understand.

3. Self reflection: 

Write paragraphs to describe

  1.  your most frightening experience
  2.  your happiest experience,
  3. your most stressful experience, and how you reacted to each situation.

After, list all the factors that motivated your behavior. How is your personality shaped by your motivations?

During the story (Or role play) it is important to remember these character motivations when your character makes choices.  That is really what this is about; identifying the motivations that make your character act the way that they do.  

During the plot, motivations may change, and should actually shift for the character to develop, but never all at once and never out of the blue.  Still the back story that drives your characters motivations will always be part of them.  

For instance; I write a character whose past has made her a survivalist but over the course of a year she shifts to protection of the family that she has developed.  However this took a full year to happen and her motivation of survival was never put on the back burner.  Instead it just expanded to protection of the group and not just herself.  Her fear of lose over this new family is what really drives her.

And there you have it: Keeping your character consistent through their motivation.

(via clevergirlhelps)

4:30am
  
Filed under: writing motivation motives help 
June 16, 2014

neyalew:

au8:

listoflifehacks:

If you like this list of life hacks, follow ListOfLifeHacks for more like it!

I swear people who follow listoflifehacks will be the most prepared for a zombie apocalypse

Oi.

Yeah you.

Don’t scroll past this.

This could save you’re life one day.

STAPH.

<(*A*<) Come back.

(via cityofsherlockgames)

4:30am
  
Filed under: writing survival 
June 10, 2014
Novel Planning

LitLift is a really good programme for planning novels. You can add a book then plan scenes, characters, settings, plotlines and items. There’s also a Character Name Generator, plus a library in which you can choose to share your work, or read others’.

(Source: thewritingcafe, via whataboutwriting)

4:30am
  
Filed under: writing planning 
May 29, 2014

jebbyfish:

So you want to make an OC?: A Masterpost of Ways to Create, Develop, and Make Good OCs!

i made this masterpost in hopes that it helps you in making your own OCs ah;; it can also apply to developing RP characters i suppose! if you’d like to add more resources then go for it sugar pea (´ヮ`)!

How to Write Better OCs:

Character Development:

Diversity

Mary Sue/Gary Stu

Villains

Relationships

ARCHETYPES

NAMES

APPEARANCE

DETAILS

again, this is to help inspire you or help establish your OCs! i hope you get a lot of info and help from this ahh ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

(Source: herorosalyn, via fangirlinginleatherboots)

May 17, 2014

disneysmermaids:

cherribalm:

site that you can type in the definition of a word and get the word

site for when you can only remember part of a word/its definition 

site that gives you words that rhyme with a word

site that gives you synonyms and antonyms

THAT FIRST SITE IS EVERY WRITER’S DREAM DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TIMES I’VE TRIED WRITING SOMETHING AND THOUGHT GOD DAMN IS THERE A SPECIFIC WORD FOR WHAT I’M USING TWO SENTENCES TO DESCRIBE AND JUST GETTING A BUNCH OF SHIT GOOGLE RESULTS

(via dracomallfoys)

4:30am
  
Filed under: writing words 
May 10, 2014

rifa:

maxkirin:

So, let me guess— you just started a new book, right? And you’re stumped. You have no idea how much an AK47 goes for nowadays. I get ya, cousin. Tough world we live in. A writer’s gotta know, but them NSA hounds are after ya 24/7. I know, cousin, I know. If there was only a way to find out all of this rather edgy information without getting yourself in trouble…

You’re in luck, cousin. I have just the thing for ya.

It’s called Havocscope. It’s got information and prices for all sorts of edgy information. Ever wondered how much cocaine costs by the gram, or how much a kidney sells for, or (worst of all) how much it costs to hire an assassin?

I got your back, cousin. Just head over to Havocscope.

((PS: In case you’re wondering, Havocscope is a database full of information regarding the criminal underworld. The information you will find there has been taken from newspapers and police reports. It’s perfectly legal, no need to worry about the NSA hounds, cousin ;p))

Want more writerly content? Follow maxkirin.tumblr.com!

HELLO

(via avajae)

April 13, 2014
spookyjoel:

HEY WRITER FRIENDS
there’s this amazing site called realtimeboardwhich is like a whiteboard where you can plan and draw webs and family trees and timelines and all that sort of stuff. you can also insert videos, documents, photos, and lots of other things. you can put notes and post-its and, best of all, you can invite other people to be on the board with you and edit together!! 
this is really really awesome and a great tool for novel planning, so if you’re doing nanowrimo…. this could be good for you!!

spookyjoel:

HEY WRITER FRIENDS

there’s this amazing site called realtimeboardwhich is like a whiteboard where you can plan and draw webs and family trees and timelines and all that sort of stuff. you can also insert videos, documents, photos, and lots of other things. you can put notes and post-its and, best of all, you can invite other people to be on the board with you and edit together!! 

this is really really awesome and a great tool for novel planning, so if you’re doing nanowrimo…. this could be good for you!!

(Source: joelmillers, via the-bar-is-called-heaven)

4:30am
  
Filed under: writing planning 
April 12, 2014

liathwen:

salomeideal:

8point6seconds:

adventuresintimeandspace:

Here are some scientific facts about blood loss for all you psychopaths writers out there.

I would like to know what is in those bottles. 

It’s Siracha!!!! Siracha is life!

That’s actually highly useful.

(via straylazybones)

4:30am
  
Filed under: writing blood blood loss 
March 29, 2014

yeahwriters:

image

referenceforwriters:

Hemingway App

thetrolliestcritic:

Hemingway makes your writing bold and clear. 

Basically the coolest little tool to have as a writer.

This is awesome!!!

(via hiddleswife)

4:30am
  
Filed under: writing 
March 17, 2014

(Source: belleresources, via nahshaw)

March 13, 2014
"This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—sounds that say listen to this, it is important."

Gary Provost (via tuongexists)

Holy crap, what just happened there… (via cyrusgabriel)

Words, man. Words.

(via bookoisseur)

(Source: qmsd, via eighthweasley)

February 28, 2014
What I Learnt Writing Oranje | Jack Lusted

jacklusted:

Yesterday I clicked the publish button on my first book, Oranje. It’s been a long time coming, and the process has definitely been one that’s taught me a lot, and I wanted to share that information with everyone. Note: this is what worked for me and my writing process, so your mileage may vary, but some of the tips I think are good for everyone who writes or self-publishes.

  • Outlining helps make sense of the plot – This I think especially applies with series or longer works. Oranje is 112,000 words and the first in a four part series. Outlining the book in advance, a few bullet points per chapter, has helped me keep track of all the story threads and make sure they all progressed properly. It’s also meant I can dive straight into book 2 as I know where I need to go with the story.
  • First drafts allow you to suck – The important thing about a first draft is getting to the end. It’s very difficult to judge the story of a book without having the whole thing in front of you to look at. Quality should not be a concern for the first draft, get the words on the page, get to the end, and then see what needs to be changed or adjusted.
  • Second drafts are for story – This is where you can get everything sorted out. Sure your first draft might have story lines that go nowhere, or sections that circle and meander around. That’s fine. The second draft is where you sort it out and nail down the story. Improving the quality of the prose and writing is always good, but until you’ve got the story sorted you might end up editing stuff you end up removing anyway.
  • Have other people read your work – Art does not exist in a vacuum, and books are no exception. The story might be perfectly clear and understandable to you because it lives in your head, but to others it might be confusing or difficult to understand. Giving your story to people you trust to read can help give you the feedback to push the book a few more notches up the quality ladder.
  • Editors improve the quality of your writing and also the story – First, if you’re self-publishing, hire an editor, you should be aiming to put the highest quality work you can. They help by not only improving your prose and writing, but they will likely be the first person to really read your work with a thoroughly critical eye. Listen to what they say, but also remember what you were aiming for with your story as well.
  • Proofreaders are a must – The more eyes you get to go over your book once it’s finished, the fewer errors there will be in it when it’s released. It’s that simple. People will always miss some errors when reading, the best way to catch them is to have many eyeballs go over it.
  • Great covers help show the quality of your work and help advertise the book – Another bit of advice more for authors going the self-publishing route. If you want your work to look professional, you need a professional cover as well. It can be expensive at times, but the money you invest in a good cover will be seen in the quality of what you end up with. I used Jason Gurley, who’s also done covers for Hugh Howey.
  • The book description is vital – You can have the best book in the world, but if the description sucks very few people will buy it. This is the second hook to get people to read your work, after the cover. Spend enough time working on it, and seek feedback on others. You want something that shows what the story is without going into too much detail, you want to make someone want to read more.

As I said at the start of this post, this is what worked for me, and enabled me to write and finish my first ever book. This advice won’t work for everyone, but I hope it helps some people with your writing. Thank you for reading.

If anyone’s interested in checking out my book, you can find links to it on the various Amazon stores here.

(via thewritingcafe)