Characters are the most important devices in our stories. In this post, we offer 30 character motivations to kickstart your story.
Characters drive stories. Without compelling characters who are in trouble and need to reach a goal, we have no plot. They are the heartbeat of our novels and short stories and what they want matters. Their motivations carry a novel from the beginning, through the muddle in the middle, to the ending.
In my post on the qualities of compelling motivations, I said that motivations only work if they matter, and if the character has something to win or lose. There need to be consequences if they fail. Motivations need to be complex, rational and irrational, and they need to be believable.
Our characters need to reach a story goal. Great motivations give them the desire to want to achieve this goal. The best motivations have physical and emotional elements. For example, a person who wants to beat addiction (physical) does it to become happier (emotional).
I want to help you make sure you have a strong enough motivation for your main character by giving you 30 character motivations to kickstart your story.
30 Character Motivations To Kickstart Your Story
- Plotting revenge.
- Surviving a disaster.
- Surviving a disease.
- Surviving a breakup.
- Saving the world/town/community.
- Saving a loved one.
- Saving themselves.
- Saving a relationship.
- Building a better world.
- Pursuing a love interest.
- Beating addiction.
- Winning a competition.
- Winning a challenge.
- Escaping capture.
- Escaping from danger.
- Finding something that is needed.
- Finding someone who is lost.
- Getting a job.
- Getting a promotion.
- Avoiding financial ruin.
- Keeping a secret.
- Killing someone.
- Trying to get pregnant.
- Starting a revolution.
- Bringing down a company or a government.
- Stopping something or someone from doing something.
- Beating an illness.
- Leaving home.
- Going home.
- Repaying a debt.
Remember that you can make these motivations positive or negative, depending on your story.
Great motivations make your characters act, which is what readers want. Action leads to conflict, consequences, and sacrifices, which keep readers invested in the story. When characters overcome obstacles and learn about their strengths and weaknesses, it leads to character development. Readers love this.
Try one of these if you want to kickstart your story.
TOP TIP: Use our Character Creation Kit to help you create great characters for your stories.
by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson
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