Driving Force of Motivation
Plots are not so much what a character does as why a character does it. Motivation moves a character. Character moves the plot.
In the TV series Revenge, Amanda Clarke’s motivation of revenge is all consuming. It dictates where she lives, which house she buys, and who her friends are.
Harry Dresden, of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, is a man of honor. His motivation is to solve a crime and protect the innocent. In Proven Guilty Harry has been given two assignments, both come from the Wizard’s High Counsel. It’s important that he completes both missions. But his best friend Micheal’s daughter calls and asks for a favor.
He should complete his mission, it could mean lives, a lot of lives. But it’s Molly, Micheal’s daughter. Harry has just spent two hours preparing for a spell that will give him the answers he needs to solve this case. But Molly has called him. She’s an innocent in need of help. Harry sets aside the urgent to take care of the immediate. He goes to Molly’s aid.
For Amanda, the innocent are collateral damage. People have ruined her life, ripped her family apart, and destroyed her father’s reputation. If she has to ruin lives, rip families part, and destroy reputations, well so be it.
She pretends to be friends only to reach her goal. She has no real feeling and she doesn’t care what happens to her “friends.” She has no idea how much they care for her and will do any thing to protect her. Only her allies, who knows her true plans also truly know her. They try to worn her, but she will not listen. She’s dismissed one and the other has walked out on her.
Amanda is losing control. When she is at her most desperate moment, she has no one to turn to. There is no one to whom she can share her feeling and heartbreak with. No one she trusts to pick up the pieces and put her back together.
Amanda is completely alone.
Harry used to be a loner, but he has learned the value of friends. He is always there for them. So when he is about to walk into the Hell of the Underworld, his friends are willing walk at his side in an effort to ensure his success.
Motivation is the driving force of a character’s actions. Amanda’s motivation is revenge. Harry’s motivation is to help the innocent. Those actions causes consequences. Amanda is alone. Harry has friends who will literally follow him into hell. Those consequences affect the people in the story and the life of the main character. And a plot is conceived.