Motivate your characters clearly

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All my posts seem to be about ‘Girl with all the Gifts’ lately…

I’m still enjoying it a lot, but there was one character who was really annoying me, because I couldn’t understand anything she did. All her choices seemed insane, and it felt almost like she was there just to move the story along. Her weird behavior in such a good story was like a fly sitting on a delicious, gourmet bowl of soup.

Then, we learn a piece of her backstory and everything clicks into place. All the ‘crazy’ things she’s been doing suddenly make sense, and all my dislike and annoyance vanished. How satisfying!

It was just a nice reminder that motivations are very important. Sure, your character can be a bad-ass doing all kinds of cool stuff, killing enemies, jumping over buildings, saving the victim. But if we don’t know why she’s doing it, then it loses a lot of its impact, and if it seems stupid, or against her own interests, then it becomes a big detriment to the story.

All characters are the hero of their own story, they shouldn’t just be there to do the thing that needs to be done, unless they need it done for their own reasons.

 

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