What Motivates Your Characters to Take Action?

Whether we know it or not, the events and people around us can affect us in ways we don’t even realize, sometimes motivating actions we normally wouldn’t dream of taking. We act out in anger in the blink of an eye before we even comprehend what made us angry in the first place. We shut down in shock when we’re subjected to trauma too great for us to handle. We don’t always choose to act the way we do, but there is always a reason, even if it’s buried deep in our subconscious. The same is as true for our characters as it is for us, affecting everything in our story from plot to conflict to stakes.

How to Force Your Protagonist to Take Charge of the Story

It’s common for first drafts to be a mess as they’re simply meant for placing the foundations of the story and getting our ideas down. You’ll probably find your first draft falls into one of two categories: character-focused with lots of internalization and little action, or plot-focused with lots of action and very little internalization. For the story to feel balanced, it needs a combination of both internalization and action. All of which needs to be driven by the protagonist.