Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Motivation: What drives your characters?

Of utmost importance in creating a book that resonates with readers, 
you must know your characters inside and out.

On the "inside," it's so important to know your characters motivations-the reasons your characters do anything. It brings them to action and directs their choices.

The why.

Who would be motivated by this beauty?

If you said a rabbit-you'd be right on. This is an homage to Easter bunnies everywhere.

What about your characters?

There are two main categories: external and internal

**As I was putting together a list, I ran across this awesome list by A. Rasley.
Go check it out here: http://www.aliciarasley.com/artmotive.htm

External:  the primary motivation 

         Survival/safety: food, water, escape from danger, air, space, rest
Physical comfort: shelter, warmth, good food, health
Pleasure: sex, great food, culture, games
Dominance: power, social standing, competition, respect
Greed: wealth, materialism, collecting, excellence
Curiosity: learning, searching, investigating
Mastery: perfectionism excellence, conquest, discipline, achievement
Reproduction: children, creativity, family-building

Internal: the primary motivation

Autonomy: self-sufficiency, freedom, non-confinement
Conformity: security, cooperation, loyalty, clan
Love: connection, passion, sex, mirroring, approval, giving
Revenge/Justice: righting wrongs, recognition of grievance, vengeance
Guilt/denial of guilt: responsibility, shame, punishment, redemption, forgiveness
Identity: self-esteem, self-knowledge, self-protection
Surcease: conflict avoidance, peace, escape from anxiety, death
Spirituality: fetishism, religion, transcendence, transformation
Growth: decay, aging learning, maturation, wisdom
 Ambition: insecurity/anxiety, fear of failure, inferiority, stress Vindication: rationalization, success, proving self, apology

          Remember it isn't WHAT a character does like jumping off a cliff or sending someone flowers- It's WHY a character does it: guilt, love.

What are some of the recent motivations you've used in your book?
What are some motivations you've seen in a book you recently read?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Finding Your Tribe

I forget how old I was when I realized that not everyone has characters talking in their heads all the time. It came as quite a surprise to me because I've had them for as long as I can remember - random bits of dialogue and setting and scenarios. It's not something I conjure up on purpose or even pay much attention to - it's just there on a low-level hum in the back of my brain. Other writers will know what I'm talking about, but the world at large will not, and it was a shocker to me to find out that I was part of a very select group.

Truth be told, yes, writers are weird. We've got stuff going on in our heads that no one else would believe, and sometimes we need to let some of it out. But who can we talk to? Other people may try to understand. Our spouses may hear us out for a little bit. But unless they are writers too, there's a bit of a disconnect there, a lack of *really* getting it. It's kind of like a sports fanatic trying to share his love of football with someone who knows nothing about the game. The friend will be supportive because they have a relationship, but they're likely to just smile and nod a lot.

If you're a writer seeking to find understanding, you're not alone. Many authors find themselves feeling adrift in their personal lives, feeling that no one understands them. At iWriteNetwork, we strive to create a place where writers can come and feel as though they are heard and understood - sometimes you just need to talk to other writers. Conferences are also great places to surround yourself with those who speak your same language. In addition, if you go onto Facebook, you can find groups dedicated to supporting writers along their journey. Critique groups are awesome for this very thing, and organizations like the League of Utah Writers (for people in Utah, of course) and ANWA (an LDS women's group) and Indie Author Hub can all fill in those holes. You can find groups in your area by Googling.

Writing is a solitary profession by its nature, but it doesn't have to be. We can find others who understand where we're coming from so we have a place to brainstorm and get feedback and not have to explain what we mean when we use words like "foreshadowing" and "galley" and "exposition". (Or a place to go to ask what those words mean.) Look around and find your tribe. Writers with a good support system tend to go farther in their careers than those without.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Retreat Sponsor - C. Michelle Jefferies of Metamorphosis Author Services

Today we'd like to acknowledge one of our iWriteNetwork retreat sponsors. C. Michelle Jefferies is an iWN member, and she's also a martial artist who taught a fun class at our summer conference last year on writing action. Hands on. Yeah, duck! She's also the author of the futuristic novel, Emergence.

Have you ever needed a plot whisperer? 

And plot whisperer isn't really what she does, but she offers a whole bunch of helpful services to writers under Metamorphosis Author Services:
  • Plot Analysis and Consult (you send your synopsis and structure for your book for help in shaping and molding the story into something great)
  • Whole Book Analysis (she will look at the whole book, including plot and character as well as subplots and give you a more intense look at your work in progress. This is intended for finished manuscripts and an author who is willing to go back and revise and rewrite.)
  • Author Mentoring (This opportunity is for writers to meet via email, chat and live meeting where possible and work on perfecting skills as an author, especially dealing with plot and character arc. Additional time we will negotiate price.
  • 6 Day Intensive Online Bootcamp (This intensive online course takes you through 6 days of assignments and coaching from a Marine Corps Wife. Be prepared to drop and give her twenty pages.)
  • Structure or Master Chapter Outline (SM) Online Class (you receive a disk with the PowerPoint presentation, a recording of the class being presented, and the notes and worksheets included in the class.)
  • The Writing Book (the ultimate book for planning your novel, especially once you learn Structure and Master Chapter Outline (SM).
  • Writers Block Attack (online or on the phone to brainstorm and get rid of the nasty block in no time.)
  • Query Blurb and Back Cover Copy Assistance (online, content help with both query blurbs and back cover copy.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Are you ready to have a cover made for your book? I personally recommend hiring someone who really knows their stuff. My husband is an artist and perhaps that makes me a little biased, but if you want it to look professional, hire a professional.

 If you are looking at doing an illustrated cover may I introduce Mikey Brooks? He is a member of iWriteNetwork, a great writer and an amazing Illustrator! He does logos as well as wall murals and cover art, all original. You won't have the same cover as anyone else! :)

Here are a couple of his designs:

You can find his website here: http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/