I’m still hung up on the Flyleaf Memento Mori album.
Great lyrics from the track, Again—
“Here you are down on your knees again, Trying to find air to breathe again, And only surrender will help you now
I love you, please see and believe again”
Today I’m going back to character building. As I stated before, everything I know, I’ve learned from Michael Hauge, an amazingly talented guy. It’s a little long, but hopefully it’s worth it.
We’ll begin with Outer motivation—the clear goal, or finish line, the hero must grow by the end of the story. Every story has one visible goal—whether it’s to win the game, get the girl, or make it to a location. This goal is the foundation of the story, it is what puts in line your characters inner journey, theme, and any through-lines. Too often, the outer journey isn’t strong enough to keep the story going. The outer journey can be difficult to master, though it seems easy enough; you really have to think if it is strong enough to keep your reader’s attention and capture their emotional by in. Like we’re always taught, eliciting emotion is number one—people read and watch movies to feel something. Maybe something their lacking, something they desire, or just to find peace away from their world and fall into your.
Here are some questions to ask yourself, again, curtsey or Michael Hauge’s excellent teachings.
Is my Outer Motivation VISIBLE? Since we are talking about novels, you really have to envision what everything would look like, and make that clear for the reader. I like to visualize my writing as a movie. What would it look like on-screen? What would they say, do, what’s really going on, and make that very clear.
Michael says, “If that image isn’t essentially the same for all your readers, if success for your hero isn’t clearly defined in visible terms, your outer motivation is still weak.”
Does my hero pursue her Outer Motivation until the end of the story? It’s essential that your hero’s goal isn’t reached until the climax of the story. If the hero accomplishes her/his main goal right away, what will keep the reader going? If Allie and Noah stayed together as kids, and the conflict, separation, and desire wasn’t there, what would keep you reading? Let’s face it, we all love conflict—we want to see people fall, and rise up to their goal.
When my hero accomplishes the Outer Motivation, will the movie be over? Not necessarily. You may have a visible goal, one that’s clear and consistent throughout the story, but maybe there’s another part to it. In THE NOTEBOOK, the movie doesn’t end when Allie chooses Noah. You have to show and after math. What is their life like after making this decision? You really do not want to write a story ending with them riding off into the sunset—very cliché.
Is my hero’s Outer Motivation nearly impossible to accomplish? Michael words this perfectly, “If the desire is easy to achieve – if it isn’t the most difficult thing the hero has ever had to do – your story simply won’t be emotionally involving or entertaining enough.”
Again, you need to capture the reader’s attention, grab them with emotion, and really bring them into your universe. Again, massive kudos to Michael Hauge. If you havent listened to his seminars, CDs, videos, or books you really have to. He’s the best of the best.
COLLIDE quote of the day;
“People weren’t meant to be together forever, the same way songs always end, like a final movement. Sometimes they fade away slowly, and other times they come crashing in, like an avalanche. But the truth of the matter was, everything ends—it’s the sadistic way of life.” – Madison, COLLIDE by Angela Francis
Listen to one of Michael Hauge’s lectures, you won’t regret it!