Hello and happy New Year, everyone! I’ve got motivation on the mind since I’m decreasingly motivated to do anything but rest, which I suppose isn’t unusual for someone who could go into labor any day now. I’ve been thinking about what does motivate me, and that made me think that sometimes it doesn’t seem like I have big, over-arching motivations. I still have big goals, like finishing my WIP, and long-standing motivations that don’t necessarily do anything but are still important, like the safety and happiness of my friends and family; the motivation is inert unless something relevant comes up, like I learn a friend is sad or that someone will be traveling on icy roads. Then I do stuff about it until it’s not relevant anymore. And this also brings to mind smaller motivations, like pie.
Knowing big, over-arching motivations and long-standing, sometimes inert motivations is important for all of your characters, because motivation is nigh everything. Especially for your villains. But how someone might go about things, what they might do in their downtime, and quirks can all depend on smaller motivations. I wouldn’t actually legit steal a pumpkin for pie, since my moral code of “stealing is wrong” is stronger than my motivaiton of “pie is delicious”, but the side plot of my appartment complex’s pumpkin heist to the main storyline of my schooling is certainly an amusing one.
When your villain is casing a place, maybe they stop into a coffee shop to look casual…or maybe they see a candy store that has their favorite childhood sweet. Nonchallantly ducking into a store to buy something is the same mechanic either way, but the different executions tell us something different about the character, his life, his personality.
Even if these little motivations don’t come up at all, knowing them still tells you about a person. So it’s still worthwhile to sit down with your characters and ask them about what motivates them on a small scale, on day-to-day life, on what to do and how to act outside of their big goals. And it’s not a bad exercise to write a little cliplet scene about their pursuing a small-scale goal, like stealing a bunch of pumpkins or finding the right brand of Thing, or getting the holiday decorations up or down in a certain timeframe, or even panic-cleaning before guests arrive.