The Emotional

To me, this category is the most important. Knowing the physical and social characteristics of a person enables you to know him only in a superficial way. But discovering the emotional life of your character helps you learn about the person beneath the smile or mask.

And isn't that what writing is all about? You want to unpeel the layers of protective covering that hides the real person inside. And you do this by putting your character under stress, tension and pressure. Become aware of your own emotions and ask yourself, "What would I feel in the same situation?"

By answering this question before you write you'll be using yourself as the most potent emotional resource of all.

The emotional life of your character will determine how he'll act and react in a stressful situation. If a person is insecure he will behave different from a confident person in the same situation. Until you can understand the emotional make-up of your character, you won't be able to develop the proper motivation for his behavior. Some of the emotional aspects of your character could include his self-esteem. Does he feel confident about himself? Is she unsure of herself? What are his dreams, his hopes, his fears, his loves, his fantasies, his aspirations, his joys, his pain? Is she an extrovert, introvert, cautious, fool-hardy, boisterous?


After you've completed your character biography for all the important characters, you will be in a position to plan your story with the proper motivation for all your characters in order to make them realistic. Motivation drives your character, creates your character's point-of-view, and is the basis for the character's emotional growth and transformation. You'll be able to motivate your character's behavior in a manner consistent with his personality when you find answers to his inner motives.

One of the biggest problems with characterization is many of you don't know how to motivate your character's behavior. If you don't lay down the reasons for their actions, they will be implausible, inconsistent or unbelievable. This is the main reason characters become stilted, unreal, and contrived in your script.

Here are two important questions you need to answer to discover your main character's motivation within your story structure:

What does my main character desperately want?

What motivates my main character to change in the climax?

Does this sound simple? Well, it's not. If you are thoroughly able to answer these questions you have the blueprint for your main character. Most importantly you have begun your journey to discover your main character's inner and outer journey.

Motivation Minefield

Motivation Minefield

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