1. Hwkngrl412
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    Hwkngrl412 New Member

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    Character Motivation

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Hwkngrl412, Aug 29, 2009.

    So I've just begun a short story which revolves around a lazy teenaged boy who, eventually, realizes that he has to buck up and take responsibility for himself. I know where I want this story to go, I have supporting characters and plot, but there is one thing missing....my main character. So far, he only fills his place in the story quietly and without much fuss, but obviously I need more from him than that. He has no motivation. Which, in part, is my point. He has to be listless and lazy for this story, and he eventual Ah-Ha! Moment to exist, but I don't want him to be flat. I've created things he wants (a relationship and moving out after high school mostly) but that's all the dimension I can really give him right now without canceling out his Bum Element. I know this is a difficult question, but...any suggestions???? How do I make this kid seem REAL?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Make him a day dreamer. It will allow you access to his aspirations and personality while still reinforcing the fact he is a bum.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Do you know kids like your character? Observe them. Don't just write the obvious impressions that you sum up each one as, but pay attention to the in-between behavior. What makes Chad different from Brandon?

    Unless they are clinically depressed, you should be able to find interests they have that motivate them, even if it's a motivation to goof off.
     
  4. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    You mention a few things that he wants. How about things that he doesn't want? Think about it - many motivations can come from fears. If he is the quiet introvert type he probably has a more complex inner world, where big battles take place between his conflicting emotions and desires. Perhaps he has unrealistic desires. Perhaps he also fears the things he wants most. Stuff like that.
     
  5. Syne
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    Syne Member

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    Why can't a lazy character have aspirations but be too lazy to achieve them? It's not exactly far fetched, coming from personal experience.
    As someone who has ADD, I feel almost as if I have a limited 'reservoir' of motivation. Even if I'm doing something I enjoy, once this well runs outs I lose all concentration*. I could almost say my constructive and creative desires come in conflict with this malicious force -- the ADD (I am aware that this is a very melodramatic description of things. Don't read too much into it.). In that sense, it is a conflict within myself.
    I'm not saying you should give your character ADD, only that laziness and motivation need not be contradictory states. They can be opposing forces as well.

    * Which is why I can't write without medication.
     
  6. Hwkngrl412
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    Hwkngrl412 New Member

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    Hahaha thanks Syne. :) That made my morning.
    Thanks everyone for your help! I feel like I can take another shot at this kid now.
     
  7. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes motivation is quite a difficult emotion to capture, for a character and one's self. Perhaps giving this character a singular, or maybe more, passion. A passion for writing perhaps, or some other art/musical theme, or even a person could be a foil to really begin to flesh him/her out. Just a thought.
     
  8. B-Gas
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    Have a shrink talk to the guy. Ask him why he's doing this. If he says "because it's my job," ask him why it's his job. Keep talking to him until he lets something slip that's him, and then run with that. I've had blank characters turn into interesting guys through this method. And don't worry if people will think you're crazy for talking to someone what doens't exist- you're a writer, you're allowed to be.

    I had one person, a guy I'd always assumed was just an aristocrat who was good with a rifle, and I talked to him. He ended up being this troubled, extremely quiet man with a real rage problem and a previously-unknown love of birds. Another guy, my main villain, turned into an absolute artist, instead of a generic cult leader- an artist who, it turned out, was actually not nearly as nice, nor as evil, as I thought he was. Bits and pieces keep falling into place. Just keep talking to the people in your novel, before and after the events, and you'll find out who you're dealing with.
     
  9. Fiel
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    Fiel Member

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    Sounds oddly familiar :D

    You may want to write the story in a first person. You can easily tell the reader what's in his mind, like how he hate the people around him keep telling how much he need to change himself.

    And there should be an event, a turning point where/ when the MC was pushed to make a change for his better self. The event may involve a lost, a tragedy, something he could have avoid had he heed the advice before, or a revelation :eek: that significantly motivating.

    Just a thought.
     

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