It can be said that the reasons why something happens is what makes the book work.  Readers want to know why characters behave the way the do, how they decide on a course of action, and how they react when life comes at them.  This is probably even more important than the characterization of a person, but in reality it is actually apart of who the person is. As mentioned before, keep the motivation believable; unrealistic motives are big detractors to readers.

Motivation is what makes a character react the way they do in a situation. It stems from the character’s traits, and is factually correct with details and is believable.  Ask yourself:

  • Why your character is the type of person you created motivated?
  • Why is the action the character takes to important for that person?

Pitfalls to avoid include spontaneous, random or foolish (out of character) decisions or actions.  Actions that come out of passive needs and emotions; there should be purpose and drive behind the action.

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