Where do you even start? Keep reading for some words of warning about these people.
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Others—stayers—will not change significantly in personality or outlook, but their motivations may nonetheless change as the story progresses from situation to situation.
Both changers and stayers can have progressive motivations. Characters come in four basic types: By Nancy Kress Characters who never change, neither in personality nor motivation.
They are what they are, and they want what they want. Characters who change throughout the story, although their motivation does not. Characters who change throughout the story as their motivation also progresses. When you know the key motivation s behind your character and plot, you can write scenes that not only make sense to you and your readers, but also add depth to your story.
Static Personality, Static Motivation Sometimes a character will have a single overriding motivation for the entire length of a story or novel, plus a strong personality that does not change much. James Bond is a good example. Nor does his motivation change. There may be interim temporary goals not getting eaten by alligators, protecting the girlbut they are all part of the single overriding motivation.
They want to earn enough to buy a small farm of their own. Their personalities, too, remain the same: George the planner and caretaker, Lennie the well-meaning bumbler who brings them both to tragedy. If you are writing this type of book, your job is to present to us the character and the goal clearly and forcefully fairly early on.
This leaves us and you, the writer! Please note, though, that an unfaltering character with an unfaltering goal can still feel more than one emotion at a given moment. If your character feels two conflicting things toward another character, bring this to life in the scene in which it happens.
Then—and this is the important part—return in the next scene to the main goal. This tells us that the basic situation is unchanged. He is not altered in either his personality or motivation as a result of her attractions.
These characters are often of two types: The heroic ones are essentially admirable characters from the get-go. Jane is spunky, plain, passionate and moral, even as a child. She believes in the dignity of all individuals, including those at the bottom of the Victorian power structure.
We see this early in the book when she stands up for herself, for her friend Helen Burns, or anyone being abused. However, as Jane grows up, her immediate motivations change. At first, she merely wants to survive the brutalities of her terrible aunt and then of the boarding school that the aunt sends her to.
Later, she falls in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester, and wants him—until she learns the truth about him and wants to escape his home.
Still more motivations follow. Howard Roark, even more resolute and heroic than Jane Eyre, never really changes, either. He just rises, without flinching, above the failures and stupidities of the rest of the world. His initial motivation is to design buildings that suit him, with no outside influences dictating his designs; his next motivation is to blow up those buildings because the builders changed some of his architectural plans.
Both actions proceed from an unchanged and unshakable conviction of his own superiority. The point is that if your character is basically heroic, you may not want him to change.
In that case, you construct the story this way: Your character is trying to live his life, but the outside world imposes an obstacle. The obstacle gives the character a motivation:We are pleased to announce the winners of the International Essay Contest for Young People.
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