marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

purposes and motives

One advantage of hunting around for deeper motives (which I rambled about here) is that having given your character motives for their purposes, you can then utterly deny them their purpose and see what happens next.  I find it works best in the opening or even in the backstory.  Jack wants to steal the Eye of the Night to get revenge for his father's having been framed and killed to keep him quiet about the jewel.  And in the first chapter, the noble has the Eye of Night crushed into diamond dust for magical purposes. . . .

Poking at a story that starts like this:  the heroine wants to prove her father's innocence and discovers in the opening scene, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he's guilty.

Heroes can be interesting, 'cause they tend to flounder around for a bit.  (And keeping in mind the bottom desire on Maslow's pyramid -- survival! -- can be the only thing keeping the story going.)  But then, having dug deeper, you know what they have to fulfill by some other means.

Villains, on the other hand, tend to be become pointlessly and futilely malicious at this point.  All set to revenge themselves on the universe that has set out to thwart them.  Can be tricky.  Especially when it's the backstory.  But having lost your heart's desire makes all sorts of nonsense on your part a consistent reaction..
Tags: characterization, complexity, heroes and villains, motives and purposes
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  • O God, our help in ages past

    O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home. Under the shadow of Thy throne…

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