Tuesday, March 22, 2011

All the world's a stage....

So a light bulb went on in my head...yes, another one.  I was a theater major in college.  I remember Jean Scharfenberg barking at me "What is your character's motivation?  Why is your character doing this?  I don't believe you!"  And suddenly it clicked.  Writing is just like acting.  In order to make your characters believable, your audience must understand the motivation.  The whys and hows of your character's conscience. 

Okay - this wasn't my idea, someone else came up with the whole motivation idea, but now I see.  Just like in theater, if your reader doesn't see the character's motivation....they won't believe you (or the character).  So this motivation thing is important.  I didn't really get it when I was back in college, I'll be honest with you...but now, I think something is beginning to make sense.  The wheels are turning.  The character must eat to live - well, I guess that's motivation, but so what?  WHY is that character eating that bowl of cereal?  Mel Gibson's character in Road Warrior where he was eating the dog food.  WHY is he eating dog food?  And then the camera pans out and WOW!  Now there's some motivation to eat dog food.  That's eating to survive...but it's not just a bowl of cereal, now is it?



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