049: Five Common Character Motivations

Five Common Character Motivations

What's driving your character?

April 28, 2017

Got questions? ICL instructors have the answers. Ask your question at www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

Are you enjoying the podcast? Click here to tweet about it!


Click here to download the show notes with extra resources!

What do you wish you knew about writing and publishing?

The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature is waiting to answer your question! Ask it RIGHT HERE.


In any story, a character must do something. A character who just bobs along on the current of everyone else's actions and decisions isn’t worthy of being in your story, and definitely isn’t worthy of leading your story.

Even if this character reminds you of someone you know in real life, the needs of a good story will be in direct conflict with a completely passive character. So your characters must do something. And their reason for acting must have clear and believable motivation.

One of Newton's Laws is that an object at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Humans can be a bit that way as well. There are lots of times we’ll laze around unless something motivates us and forces us into action.

This is particularly true when the needed action involves overcoming obstacles (which can be challenging, and scary, and painful. All things we tend to resist). The motivation you provide for your character must be sufficiently strong for readers to believe it would keep this person on this path of action.

Listen to the episode to discover five common character motivations that will get your character moving!

Click here to download the show notes with extra resources!

Add Comment

Great Read!

By Mara Kim Amazon review, Verified Purchase

"This is another great read from [ICL]... When I saw this particular one, I grabbed it immediately ... This book is a great addition to a writer's (whether published or not) shelf ... I highly recommend their writing courses. You receive feedback on your work from published authors. You will be encouraged but also pushed to make your story from good to great."