Friday, 24 October 2014

Characters and motive

I have been looking at characters this week. Characters can be protagonists or antagonists but in order for them to be interesting they have to want something. This provides the motive for them to act and drive their story forwards.

I asked people in my group to think of the most distinct person they knew, describe them and determine what their motive was in life. What fabulous characters emerged. And what motives.

My own addition was a friend of mine who is super clean and tidy. If she gave you a biscuit she would vacuum you while you ate it. Why? maybe she needs to be in control, maybe cleanliness is of the highest importance to her because of something that happened to her. Maybe she'd rather not have her life filled in with messiness because she'd rather be doing something else. I must ask her.

Think of three people you know who are distinct or memorable in some way.

Write down who they are, what their characteristic is and what you think motivates them.

Put two of them together in a story. Add a location such as a meeting where they find themselves side by side or a sporting match on the same or opposite teams. Make their motives distinct so that the work comes alive.  Try writing a story about them or a page of dialogue.

We watched a film in which the protagonists motive is clear in every scene. If you have time you might try it. It's an Italian film called la Vita e Bella. In English it's called Life is Beautiful and it is dubbed. The writer and lead actor is called Roberto Benigni roberto benigni life is beautiful