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Writing A Character With A Strong Motivation And Desire, by Jane Kirkpatrick

Writing Historical Novels

The word character comes from a Greek word that carries meanings of engraving or to chisel.  The word suggests that it’s what’s left after we’ve been gouged out that is our enduring character.  That’s true of our fictional characters as well.  They need to be gouged out but in ways that are believable and congruent for the reader. Such engraving depends on the barriers a character faces and how they overcome them.

I discover those barriers by first performing a motivational exploration of my character.  What is their desire?  What do they want in this story?  Why are they here to share their lives with readers?  A character has to want something badly.  I write down as much as I can about what I think that character might want, hoping to come up with one main desire that motivates action.

Characteristics are secondary to me.  Many of us remember…

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