22 November 2010

What's Your Motivation?

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Today's post concludes the series on the "Get Motivated" conference I attended in Atlanta on Nov. 1. There were all these famous speakers there, from Lou Holtz to Bill Cosby. So far, we've talked about not letting our characters contradict each other and creating memorable secondary characters (but not letting them steal the spotlight!).

Today we're going to talk about Motivation. Ha! How appropriate!

So, right before lunch there was this massive infomercial. It was longer than the other sessions. This guy came out and talked to us about stocks and investing. Something I know NOTHING about. At the end, we discovered we couldn't do all the "tricks" he taught us without taking a specific course and registering/paying for access to a specific website.

The guy started off his talk holding up a $5 bill. He asked if anyone would give him $1 for the 5. Someone ran up and traded with him. Then he held up a $20 and asked if anyone would give him a $10. More people ran up. Then he said, "I have a $100 bill here..." As soon as he said that, a man on the 5th row leapt out of his seat, tripped, and fell flat on his face in front of a stadium full of people. It was hysterical! And the speaker ended up giving the $100 away in a different way. It was a gimmick.

Then, at the end, he started advertising the special course/registration. The more special offers he announced, the more people streamed from their seats. It was like watching a giant alter call- for money. People were rushing forward, pushing past each other, trying to get the special deals. It was fascinating.

And it got me thinking about motivation for our characters. That man who fell on his face was motivated, so much so that he was willing to look like an idiot just for a little cash. The people who ran from their seats for this course which would teach them how to make money, they were also very motivated. They knew what they wanted and were willing to do whatever they needed to get it. Their pull was wealth.

What's your character's? My current one is looking for personal worth. Quite simply, she performs and pushes herself to the limit simply because she feels she isn't good enough.

One of the biggest things we can discover about a character is motivation. Once we know that, things begin to make sense.

Have a great Thanksgiving, Friends!


  1. Wish I'd have been there to witness this memorable moment, Kristen! What a wonderful picture!

    Happy Thanksgiving,

  2. It was a gimmick, but I would have been happy to get that $100 bill nonetheless!

  3. Sounds like a conference you'll never forget! Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. I SO agree that if a character's motivation isn't clear, WE aren't clear on the book and often toss it onto a discard pile.

    Great post! You go, girl!

  5. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I'm really enjoying these writing lessons from the conference.