Why do you get out of the bed in the morning?
Are you going to work?
Feeding the baby?
Running to the bathroom?
Heading to the shower?
Making coffee and lunches?
Need it, learn to love it, use it all the time.
It should seriously be one of the deadliest of sins for any writer to assume that their readers have clue #1 on what the hell is going on, and this is a fact as true for those who write original fiction as it is for those who write in fandom.
Hey, look just because YOU are utterly addicted to a certain show and can channel the characters like it’s second nature, that don’t mean the rest of us have any damn idea what you’re blathering on about.
No, seriously we don’t. That’s because we don’t all watch, read or listen to the same things. And while the world would be very, very boring if we did, the only way you can get any of us interested in your little corner of the ‘squeeing’ world of whatever it is you’re writing about, is to tell us about it in the first place.
So, if your character has no sense of humor and suddenly develops one, we need to know the motivation for that or (s)he is going to sound like a moron who forgot to take their meds.
If your character suddenly smacks a bitch, we need a reason for it. People who do that without one generally tend to get arrested, so unless you’re planning on that, give us motive.
Motive maketh character. Character formeth motive.
It’s like saying ‘you are what you eat’ but you’re not really a tuna fish sandwich.
At least I hope you’re not, because if you are, why are you reading this and not sitting in my lunch bag right now?
Wait, where are MY meds while I’m on the subject…?
*pause for dramatic effect*
Okay where was I? Yes, motive.
Everyone does everything for a motive. Little is ever random. Coincidence, yes but not random. Coincidence is the plot device of last resort when you can’t find a motive, and if you use that too often you’re going to sound like a schmuck with no plot in the first place. Having every goddamn Vampire on the face of earth Turned by some random rogue is unacceptable. It’s dumber than mud and suggests desperation for lack of ideas.
So get creative. Hell, get a little wild if you have to. Whatever it takes. Figure it out. Post-It Notes are your friend. So are whiteboards, research materials, bits of string and make-shift maps on the dining room table.
You want someone to know about Vampires? Figure out how they know, even if you have to go back 5000 years in earth history to find out where, when, why and how.
You want someone to get up and go out, give them a purpose even its only to go pee in a dark alley.
You want someone to do the dramatic, angsty, flaily exit thing then give them a reason to go, and be sure that everyone knows it.
Writing is hard.
I get that.
But with a little contemplation, it can be a whole lot better than just vaguely stringing words together that might make sense in your own mind, but will make others laugh at you or run away screaming insanely into the night because they can’t figure out what the hell they just read. People rarely come back to read more if they can’t make sense of your work, and knowing later on why you made a total lash up of it all really doesn’t help that much either. Your readers don’t know that your car broke down, your work colleague is a bitch, your dog ate your harddrive or your sister just had a baby.
Though if that’s your plot line for your story you at least have motive. It’s just not motive for being a total dweep with your writing, unless you want to educate them on the definition of ‘how to have a nervous breakdown’. And if that’s the case, then get a journal to record your personal thoughts in and get it all out of your system. Maybe someone digging in the dirt a few bazillion years from now will find it, publish it as a research paper and use it to justify why the 21st Century was full of people who had no damn idea what to write any more.
Either that or it’ll be the greatest thing since you know who decided Vampires should be twee little girls who all sparkle when they bite you…
*eyeroll* Wait. I’m going off plot… Losing the will to live.
What was it again?
Oh right. Yes.
Would I kid about this stuff??
No, I would not. I’ve been doing it for years. I don’t always get it right (the famous ‘where the hell did the brothers go in the midde of all this?’ conversation still gives me the willies) but practice makes perfect.
See? Practice. It’s a perfectly valid motivation to attain perfection.
*cue meaningful speech from Shifu to Po before The Kung-Fu Panda kicks the bad guy’s butt*
Even if you have no motivation yourself, you can always get it from others. Characters do that too. Remember those books you were forced to read at school for Lit class? The ones with no purpose, no goal and a boring amount of very long words that send you to sleep? Yeah, there’s no motivation. No motivation to care about the characters because they have no motivation either. They’re just there, hanging around, being.
And then after that there’s no motivation to read about them again.
Motive gets the hero from the beginning of his journey to his ending.
Just ask Luke Skywalker.
Or Han Solo. He’s a little easier to determine on the motive front. He starts out wanting money. Great motive.
Okay so there’s motive for plot, plot devices, character and keeping your readers interested.
Now where did that tuna fish sandwich go…?