It is no secret to anyone who knows me or has ever read an interview I’ve done, THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD is hands down my favorite book of all time. Even at the age I am now ( 21++++,etc) I still feel the message in that children’s book is the most empowering one I’ve ever read. The entire book screams with the treatise of self-motivation and dedication to a goal. That little engine thought he could get over that mountain, and because he had confidence in himself and self-will and determination, he did.
I’ve started writing a new series of books about another family ( of course!). My MacQuire Women series is almost complete, so when the idea for this new family burst in my brain, I went with it. The reason I’m telling you this is because the first thing I do after the idea pops up is to discover my characters and their motivations. Why a character acts the way she does, does the things she does, and says what she says is very important for me to know ahead of the writing. I’ve said before that using Deb Dixon’s book Goal, Motivation and Conflict (GMC) has been instrumental in helping me get inside the heads of my peeps and knowing what’s what with them. The book makes you dig deep into your characters to find out what their internal and external goals are, what’s behind their motivations for each, and then asks you to detail the conflicts that will make attaining their goals difficult.
I usually devise one wipe board per book with my major characters on it, listing the GMC’s. Here’s the current one for the new series. This is book one, as of yet untitled. You can’t really tell from this shot, but I’ve got my heroine, hero and the “villain” all plotted out here. What they want, how they can get it and what will keep them from achieving their goals.
This keeps me focused – something I have real trouble with – and will hopefully eliminate plot holes along the way. Sometimes I do discover something about the character I didn’t know in the beginning and it will be added to this board, with the concurrent problems and motivations added.
Character Motivation is important when writing, especially in writing romances because if we didn’t give our characters fully formed goals and obstacles, there wouldn’ be anything interesting to write about. It would simply be boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. The End.
COMING SOON:: 3 Wishes, A Candy Hearts Story…check back soon for buy links! 2/8/16 release from The Wild Rose Press