Saturday, August 6, 2016

Motive, goal or fiction? by Barbara Edwards

I’ve been plotting my next manuscript. While I’ve been building motivation for my hero and heroine for why they are acting they way they are, I got caught up in a news broadcast where the reporter was questioning the perpetrator’s motives. As I listened I though that no reader would accept that reasoning as valid. 

Wow. Real life doesn’t work in a book.

After laughing, I called a fellow author and shared my ‘insight’. She cautiously agreed with a big “but.”

A good author can take an unbelievable incident and turn it into a wonderful story. With believable characters.
So here I am. 
Motivation is an internal feeling what causes a person to seek a particular thing. It has to be something the reader can identify with and accept. It helps to build empathy. 
I don’t usually plot ahead but this story is the third in a series of books and I need to show the connections in an understandable way. 

Why does this heroine who is new, not a secondary character from book one or two, get so caught up in the adventure that she doesn’t flee for the hills? Not like a paranormal where I could use magic to twist her around. but a contemporary set in this time and place.

It doesn’t help that I’m having my own ‘adventure’ that wouldn’t make a believable novel. 

Aw well, I must focus. Now my question is, what is truly believable?
Have you ever read or used something that was incredible, but it worked? Tell me about it.

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Jannine Gallant said...

I've never had a problem with motivation being believable. But I did include a group of scientists hunting for Bigfoot in one of my books. I thought it would be fun to hint that it was Bigfoot who saved my heroine. My pub made me change it to be more ambiguous--as in, it could have been a big bear. Didn't have the same panache, but I don't write paranormal. LOL Yes, truth is stranger than fiction. Just look at our presidential race...

Rolynn Anderson said...

Most of my heroines hang around when I'd walk away...but that's the beauty of escape literature. As we read we get to imagine ourselves stepping into the arena and facing adversity head on. My beta readers usually tell me when the concept isn't believable. I don't write paranormal, but I push the envelope to a something I call 'normal paranormal.'

Vonnie Davis, Author said...

Ridiculous things happen to me often--and always have. I'm like a magnet for the absurd. I once went for a job interview and the man interviewing me bared his soul about being molested as a child. I didn't know what to do or say. I just kept thinking why me? I had a friend who confessed she saw 3 people when she looked in the mirror. She had a split there was the wolf. Farron, who protected her. I was the only one she ever told and ended up going along with her to several counseling sessions. I've been flashed, peed on in New Orleans, and proposed to by a native in Jamaica. Life is crazy. Try putting any of that stuff in a book and an editor would snap her red pen.

Diane Burton said...

OMG, Vonnie. I can't believe the situations you've gotten into. You're right, though, about an editor not believing it in a story. In my stories, I have to work hard to find motivations for some of my characters. For the others, it comes easy. The ones for whom I find it hard, the digging makes me know them so much better. Good luck with your project, Barbara.

Leah St. James said...

I answer the "tip line" of our daily newspaper in my "real life" job. Truth really is stranger than fiction. Making it believable is a tough task!

Margo Hoornstra said...

How many times do we hear those in the media report an event then add , "You can't make this stuff up." In good writing hands, even the improbable seems totally real. Best of luck with the series.

Andrea Downing said...

Just remember--truth is stranger than fiction. I wonder how many authors have received a review that said 'this was unbelievable, ' and then shook their heads in dismay.

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, so true, Barbara. We really do have to be more careful in fiction than in real life. I've had some unbelievable scenarios, that I THINK worked. In one of my books, the bad guy implanted a bomb in my heroines' body. As for unbelievable motivations, we do have to keep digging to find something to make them ring true. In your story, if your heroine is searching for someone she cares about in the area, it would make her stick around instead of fleeing, or if someone needs her, or if she's hiding out and can't draw attention to herself, etc. I'm sure you'll figure out something. Yeah, reviewers are tough. Sometimes they say things are unbelievable even if they are quite common. Sigh... Good luck with the addition to the series!