Motivation:>>
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Romance author and instructor, Alicia Rasley says: “Motivation is the fuel, powering the characters as its close relation conflict powers the plot. Motivation engenders goals, and goals cause conflict, and conflict causes action, and pretty soon you have a pretty terrific plot there—and it all starts with your character wanting something for some reason even they might not even understand.”
Alicia continues, “Plot is character in action, and motivation is what inspires characters to take action. Motivation however cannot simply be a mechanical device, interchangeable from one character to another.”
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Debra Dixon says, “Motivation is your story’s foundation.”
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Why? Because proper motivation is what pushes the character to act and the reader to live the story through the character in the world you’ve created. All of the decisions and actions should be motivated. Characters can have more than one motivation which will add to making them three dimensional.
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Not all of your characters can want the same thing. And through the course of the story, the character’s goal can change as they grow; you do need to make sure this clear to the reader. This is where the charts you filled out come in handy. The more information you have, the more layers to the character there are, thus making them more believable, more real.
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Just like a real person, characters have internal motivation and external motivation.
Internal comes from inside the character—emotions, fears, desire. External are the forces outside of the character. The internal motivation is something intensely personal—a past relationship or event and should be strong enough to evoke a need that has stayed long term to have this affect.
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If you can see, touch, taste, smell, hear...it’s physical, external.
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Debra Dixon in her book GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict has this to say about motivation—“Motivation is what drives your character to obtain or achieve his goal...Keep it simple. Keep it strong. Keep it focused. Make the reader understand why the characters make the choices they make.”
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Conflict>>
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Conflict is the struggle of your characters in the story for what they want/desire. Without tension/conflict, you have no plot. This is so important, I’m going to say it again – If you don’t have conflict, you have no story. If you write commercial fiction conflict must be there.
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In romance sexual tension is conflict. The characters not wanting a relationship but are drawn into it, is conflict. Don’t let this lovely sizzling tension/conflict go to waste. I’m not just talking about the hotter romances. Make the reader feel the attraction, the emotion. Later on we go into more detail on sexual tension.
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Conflict isn’t always physical. It can be two people against each other. Argument or quarrel between lovers or enemies. What is common is opposing goals with the proper motivation. Conflict is also excitement It gives life to the story.
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Don’t forget that even lighter books have conflict.
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When writing conflict it needs to be clear, just as character goals must be clear. If you have anything in the story that doesn’t advance the plot, get rid of it. Make a folder for those deleted scenes, description whatever. You might be able to use it for something else or pull pieces as you edit later on.
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The events you set up must be logical to make the story believable. In fiction we really need to take extra care when plotting conflict. Things must happen for a reason in the story. Story logic for the character is the writer not really why or thinking through how a character is there. Examining the background and what forces molded the character gives you the tools you need for putting the hero/heroine in front of the opposing force needed for the story.

Conflict lets your character prove his/her worthiness. Think of various ways to continue to push your character into conflict since it provides excitement, tests the character in ways where you can make them stronger and more heroic as well as providing sympathy from the reader.
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Some writers are afraid to be mean to their characters. I used to be one of them. It took a few years, but I got over it and now I really have fun when I write. This fear held me back in characterization too. I had to keep reminding myself my characters were not real people, that I was the creator and in control of the story.
By learning how to fun with plotting, writing became richer and more exciting.
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Rising action: The complications should rise each time, testing the character more and more along with the choices becoming more difficult and personal.
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Jack Bickham in The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes says, “In conflict, your character has a chance to change the course of events.” He goes on to comment, “Make sure you have two characters involved and give them opposing goals.” I think this one of the reasons I love writing romance so much. Hero wants one thing, heroine the other and then the sparks fly!
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Internal conflict is emotional. It keeps your character from learning the lesson he/she need to grow by the end of the story. For romance the characters end up with a compromise they can live with. If they can’t, then no happy-ever-ending.
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Heroes and heroines who are not perfect satisfy the reader because they can see how far the character has come to overcome obstacles thrown in their way. The goal the character wants at the beginning of the book may change by the end of the book or their point of view may have changed as they begin to learn their lesson/lessons on this voyage you’ve designed.
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When writing you can have a constant, unrelenting conflict or you will numb the reader with too much stimulation. This is where sequel comes in to give the reader and character a chance to catch their breath. Scene and sequel will be discussed later.
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