In a recent blog post, I talked a little about Revenge as a motivator. Revenge is an incredible motivator for story developments. Across almost all genres there are stories based entirely upon revenge as a motivator for the characters.
Revenge comes in all sorts of formats available to manipulate a plot or subplot. However, is it the best motivator for your characters? The answer to this question is based entirely upon the type of story you are writing. Notice I didn’t say genre. Romances can be in so many different gernes it amazes me. The same can be said for those characters whose sole motivation is a quest.
Let’s forget about genre or style type for the moment. Pretend they don’t matter because when you are writing – they don’t. What matters is your story. Your plot, subplots if any, character’s locations, etc. However, let’s move all those normal type concerns to the back burner today. Instead, let’s focus on what motivates your characters. Specifically, are your characters motivated by love or lust?
I know, I know. There are so many different motivators for your characters, why did I focus on love versus lust? The answer to that is simple really. Love and lust are top motivators for us as humans.
Let’s explore this concept. Why do we get up in the morning and go to work? Is it because we seek money? Money is considered one of the universal motivators, but is it? Not many people get up to go to work based solely on money.
Few people are truly money motivated. I realize many of you will argue this with me, but let’s take a look at this from a different perspective. Most people I know get up and go to work simply to provide for their families. Do they do this out of love? Out of duty? Necessity? Lust? Hatred? Desperation?
I have gotten up to go to work for many reasons outside of money. And yes, both love and lust were big motivators for me at one time or another to earn a living.
Love motivates people to do strange things. Make them commit acts a person would never dream of doing until the person they love asks them to. How many murders have occurred in this country because one person told another that “if they loved them,” then they would kill for them?
Notice I didn’t give a gender to this statement. Most of the time such a conversation is depicted as a woman asking a man to kill for them. There is some truth to this. However, it is 2021 and genders have never been so mixed up as they are today. A man could just as easily set a woman on the path to murder to prove how much she loves him.
Love makes for such sweet motivation for your characters. Or rather, the way you interpret love between two people. Love can lead to revenge or murder or? Well, it can lead to whatever your heart desires in the form of a story. Even a good love story needs the love to be developed in a manner the reader wants to discover as they read along.
When you use love as the motivation behind your characters actions, I find it nice to know how they love someone. Love differs for people. I’m about to go off the politically correct wagon now. See, I noticed love differs depending upon upbringing. How a person is raised will dictate how they love. Some people think they love someone only to discover they only love themselves.
Then there are the people who think love can only come from violence. Battered women are not the only group who often think love only comes with a fist. Men are often abused by their spouses. Yes, women abuse as much as men. Their methods are different, but the results are the same.
Most who believe love isn’t love unless it hurts were raised in households filled with abuse. Their way of love requires them to be either abused or the abuser.
Yet love has infinite possibilities as a motivator for your characters. The love of a child is different than the love of a parent. The love of a young couple differs from an older one. Love changes over time. It is like putty in the hands of a writer. If you use love as a main motivation among your characters remember that. Remember you can use it to shape a character in so many ways.
Yet, love is often accompanied by lust. Lust has repeatedly been depicted as a tool women use to make a man fall in love with them. This is a true motivator for some because men, often young men, fall in love during sex. Most women don’t. It takes them a while for sex to become “making love.”
Unless it’s a vampire story. The way that genre is set up these days the story inherently has women’s lusts overcoming their reason. Of course, there is an entire subgenre among erotica about women who succumb to lust. Who seek it out. Often outside of a boring and lackluster marriage.
This style of lust as a motivator is common among historical period stories. Where a woman is stuck in a position dictated by society and finds herself drawn to a man who isn’t her husband. Who thinks lust is something for others only to discover their own sweet passions.
This, of course often, leads to love because readers enjoy lusty characters falling in love after the hotness wears off.
Lust is an underrated means to motivate characters in a story. Of course, when most think of lust they think of sex, right? Well lust is often a great motivator when it is used in other categories. Greed is lust for money. Then there is the lust of power. Many of God’s “Thou shalt nots” are based upon men’s lusts.
Open your mind to the idea lust is a great motivator for your character. You can create tons of stories based upon men’s, and women’s, lusts. Don’t keep your hands tied. Take the time to develop a list of loves and lusts which drive people to do what they do. Then let your stories begin.
I’m Ross, the Editor-in-Chief at The Pyrateheart Press and I’m out.