Powerful Fiction Writing Mix: 5 Drivers to Motivate Your Characters

Fiction Writing Tips and Techniques

Great character development is key to an interesting work of fiction. The struggles that they face, their interactions with one another, and their mental and emotional growth and development keep the reader interested as the main plot moves forward. If you are interested in developing characters that are more interesting and that improve the flow of the story, here are five ways to get the most out of the characters you write.

Introducing your Characters

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It is relatively easy to introduce your protagonist and antagonist. They are generally introduced early on, with the protagonist getting the first intro and the antagonist coming on the scene after the conflict is introduced. What can be difficult is introducing secondary and tertiary characters. Here are a few ways to bring these characters to the attention of readers:

  • Use dialogue with a major character to bring out a new character.
  • Introduce a new character during or immediately after an emotionally charged event.
  • Introduce a new character in just when it appears that a solution to the conflict.

Creating Goals and Objectives for your Characters

If you do not have goals for your main characters, their only purpose is to participate in the actions that further the plot. Goals are what provides your main characters with a reason to do anything. As you write your story, set goals for your main characters. For example you may set a goal for your character to overcome their fears as the story progresses. This gives them motivation.

Placing Obstacles in the Way of your Characters

Your readers are not going to be interested in reading about the characters in your story working towards their goals unless there are obstacles in the story as well. Obstacles can be people, objects, or events that force your main characters to take the actions that are required to reach their goals. To build on the goal of overcoming fears mentioned above, consider the obstacles that might force a character to face or overcome fears. They could be put into dangerous situations, or they might come into contact with another character who needs them to get past their fears.

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Increase Motivation with Subplots

Using subplots is a wonderful way to give characters additional motivation. Let’s go back to the example of a character overcoming fears. If the only goals and obstacles your characters face are tied into the main plot, they will tend to be one dimensional. You can add subplots to your story as a way of giving your characters new challenges to overcome, and to display a wider range of emotions and character traits.

Create Different Conflicts

A final way to make your story and your characters more interesting is to create additional conflicts. It may seem natural to use characters who are already in conflict with one another when inserting new conflicts into your plot. However, some really interesting things can happen when characters who are supportive of one another in your main plot have conflicts in other areas of their lives.