Last updated on March 17, 2016
Should your characters change during your story? The state of your the actors in your plot can drive your story or make it stagnant. This excerpt from an older post at WritersDigest.com is worth another look. Read on.
4 Ways to Motivate Characters and Plot
Some of your characters will change during the course of your story—let’s call them changers. Others—stayers—will not change significantly in personality or outlook, but their motivations may nonetheless change as the story progresses from situation to situation. Both changers and stayers can have progressive motivations.
Confused? Don’t be; it’s simpler than it may seem. Characters come in four basic types:
By Nancy Kress
- Characters who never change, neither in personality nor motivation. They are what they are, and they want what they want.
- Characters whose basic personality remains the same; they don’t grow or change during the story. But what they want changes as the story progresses (“progressive motivation”).
- Characters who change throughout the story, although their motivation does not.
- Characters who change throughout the story as their motivation also progresses.
When you know the key motivation(s) behind your character and plot, you can write scenes that not only make sense to you and your readers, but also add depth to your story. Because character and plot are intertwined, we’ll refer to the above four as character/plot patterns. Let’s further explore each one.
What are your favorite ways to balance your characters and their motivation to keep your story moving forward? Do you prefer them to be static or dynamic?