Motivation: Hope


If you've been writing for some time then you've run across the term motivation. You can find any number of workshops available to writers looking for the magic pill that is going to make their books sell. The one thing that makes your story stand out from the rest. The thing that makes someone stay up all night finishing your book. It isn't just about good writing, though it does take some ability to put the scenes in your brain onto the page. But the best characters are the ones that seem ordinary and exceptional all at the same time. I just picked up Janet Chapman's latest book. Her stories are always an automatic buy for me... not just because her setting is usually Maine and her characters are rough and ready men and women with beauty and brains. But she imbibes her characters with something else. She gives them "HOPE". Hope is a magic word that transforms even the simplest desire into a motivation for a story. Without hope in your characters there isn't much sense in doing anything. In one of the Harry Potter movies (forgive me if I can't remember which one) Harry finds the mirror of Erised. When he gazes into the mirror he finds his utmost desire. The thing that he wants most of all. In the beginning he is drawn again and again to the mirror so that he can glimpse his parents, but when Dumbledore finds him he tells him that... "The happiest man alive would look into the mirror and find only himself." He adds that the mirror "shows us nothing more and nothing less than our deepest desires... But it gives us neither knowledge or truth." Without hope our characters would waste away in front of a mirror of our desires... just as Dumbledore said. Hope implies that there is to be an action. If you hope to win a million dollars, that hope is nothing if you don't buy a lottery ticket. If you hope to write a bestseller, it does no good if you don't sit your butt in the chair and write the book. If you character wants to find his hearts desire then he must risk losing his heart in order to gain that love. That knowledge. That truth. So, what is it that your character hopes for? And what are they willing to risk to get it?

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