Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Finding a Motive

I’ve been working on a story lately. I love the concept and I think it will do well on the back cover. But I have a problem. I haven’t settled on the motive of one of the main characters. Unfortunately, that motive is central to the story. It not only drives the story, it drives the motives of some of the other characters. It defines who they are as characters, so the choices I make there could change who they are significantly.

In this case, the character did something as a teenager that most of us wouldn’t do. That’s not to say that we might not have considered it, but if we’d gone through with it we would’ve come to our senses and realized that we’d made a bad choice. We would have turned around and undid what we did. But in this story, the character doesn’t attempt to undo it for fifteen years. She’s committed to what she has done. That means her motive has to survive even after she’s had a while to think about it.

If I can find a great motive, I think this story will be good. If I can’t, I’m sure this story will fail.