Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What's Motivation Got To Do With It?

“Know what motivates your sleuth to solve crimes.” – Hallie Ephron in Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel.
The seeds for my flash fiction blow in from many directions. The idea for one story came from a picture in my mind of a bag of donuts and a cup of coffee sitting on a park bench. Another piece sprouted from an e-mail my brother-in-law sent the family while on a fact finding mission in Iraq. The theme for a third work rooted itself in my mind as I pondered the petty things people use to denigrate others. What all of these stories have in common is that, at some point, I had to decide what motivated the characters, whether they were sleuths, homeless persons, moms, or a couple of good old boys.

Unfortunately, I tend to wait well into the writing process to do this. It's a habit I need to break. To help me remember to consider my characters’ motivations earlier -- right after the first draft? -- I have a new stickie on my monitor with “What motivates your characters?’ written on it.

1 comment:

Loren Christie said...

Jim, That sticky note is a good way to stay focused...Thanks for the helpful advice.