Friday, September 9, 2011

Chapter Anatomy: Motivation

WooHoo! Part 3 of Chapter Anatomy! Find parts 1 & 2 below:

Scene Setting


Alrighty, moving right along! Motivation. Behind every goal is a motivation.

Wikipedia describes motivation as the following:

Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic.[1] The term is generally used for humans but it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation. According to various theories, motivation may be rooted in a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with eithervolition or optimism.[2] Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.

Whatever your character’s motivation, it has to be relatable to all of us. This is important. If I can’t relate to it, Imagonna put a book down. For real. It’s happened.

**Now, remember, we aren’t talking about overall ms GMC’s. I’m specifically breaking down chapters. So here we go.

In the last post on goals, I gave the first two scenes in chapter 1 of my ms as examples. (Remember there can be more than one scene per chapter.) Now I’ll show you the motivations. Like the goal, the motivation needs to be clearly stated. Note how I said clearly, not literally.

Example one goal: Natalie wants to get Travis on the road to PA without her.

Her motivation?

I jutted a chin toward the trunk of his car. “I saw the golf clubs, my friend, and I know you intend to use them.”

Travis turned his head up to laugh, the vibrations transferring to the palms of my hands. When he looked down a moment later, his midnight blue eyes shone with amusement. His hands rubbed absently up and down my arms, his callused palms chafing my softer skin.

“If you came, I wouldn’t need to use them,” he said, speaking up when a mower started up across the street. The scent of fresh cut grass carried over on the breeze a moment later.

The cross hanging over his shirt flipped when his collar moved and I righted it. “If I go, your dad would drag you out to play anyway and I’d get stuck with your mom who is still trying to talk me into yellow bridesmaid’s dresses. My cousins will look like zombies in that color. Yellow is not our friend.” To prove my point, I lifted the yellow edge of his polo shirt to my pale skin and cringed.

Anyone see it? Remember that these are just scene GMC’s. They don’t have to be HUGE. Her motivation is simple: Avoiding the “talk” with the future mother-in-law. Note how it’s also relatable! Maybe you aren’t married with the MIL from hell, but there’s someone in your life you’d lie, cheat, and steal to get out of spending even a second with.

Example two goal: To simply relax and find calm.

Night descended behind the large picture window at the back of the dark living room. Through it, I watched moonlight shimmer over gentle ripples in the windswept pool. Each peak and dip should have added to the calm I strived for. The peace of mind. Any other night it would have, but with Jon fresh on my mind, I remembered a time when those very waters nearly took his life fifteen years ago. A dive too near the shallow end. Blood mingling with the clear water. Jon had drowned by the time my screams brought Dad running.

The motivation probably won’t be as clear because you haven’t read UP to this scene, but her motivation is to forget about everything going on with her brother, Jon. To quote the wiki definition, “. . . or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, state of being. . .”

Again, it’s a motivation everyone can relate to. If something is bothering you, who doesn’t strive to forget about it?

Okay, so that’s motivation!

To recap, every scene in every chapter should have a goal and a motivation for that goal. Make sure they are clear for the reader. Every chapter has at least one scene.

Your next mission, should you choose to accept . . . Winking smile . . . go find your motivations! YAY, fun!

Okay, hop to it! See you Monday when we go over the next step: Conflict.

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