Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Character Motivation

Is it too early to start thinking about NaNoWriMo? Every year I make the same resolution: I will plot my 50k NaNo project in October. That way, come November, I won't be writing by the seat of my pants. October 15 rolls around and I think, "Hey, I still have time." October 31st rears its nasty head and when midnight strikes, I'm staring at an empty document screen with only a vague sense of my story and a couple of characters. So November is a flurry of combined pantsing and plotting while trying to get my 1667 words a day.

You can probably guess the horrid amount of rewriting that follows. I also find if I don't plot or give my characters GMCs, I fail to give my characters proper motivation. And my editor has no qualms reminding me of this.  

Character motivation is obviously my bete noire. Not that I disregard it. Of course not. I think it's more I'm so close to my characters I tend to second guess their actions rather than let them be who they are. And to be honest, I'd rather have my editor or CP point out flaws in motivation than a reviewer or reader. Nothing irritates me more than a book where a character does something that doesn't make sense. Like the girl in the horror movie who walks through the spooky old house in her underwear but carries no weapon, even though she knows a serial killer is in the area. Sorry, folks, I'm not buying it.

So I've made a new resolution. To be more conscious of my characters' motivations in regards to plot and interactions with other characters. You see, I read something today that made me feel relieved and even happy: I don't have to rush to get books out there. It's not about quantity but quality. So I'm going to take my time and write the best stories I can.

Let's call this an experiment. But I definitely need to return to those abandoned works-in-progress. Oh, and I also need to complete the research and plot my vampire Victorian project for this November.

Happy Writing!

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