Character Turnabouts and Surprises

Character Turnabouts and Surprises

A Lesson by Hingabe

Reversing Motives


The whole thrust is a surprise, or perhaps the scene turns in an unexpected direction, or a character does something that we do not anticipate.  Such effects come from trying different approaches to a scene.  In essence, that is what Reversing Motives, the questions that follow, is about: trying a different approach to see if it works better. 
How could you handle the following scene?  What would your approach be?  You just might like what happens.

-- Pick any scene in your novel that features your protagonist.  What is his main action in the scene?  What is he/she/it trying to accomplish, obtain, or avoid? 

-- Write a complete list of the reasons why our protagonist is doing what he/she/it is doing/  Write down as many of he/she/it's motives as you can.

-- Circle the last reason on your list, the last thing that you wrote down.

-- Rewrite your opening of the scene, only this time, send your protagonist into acton (or avoidance) foremost and primarily for the reason you circled. 

-- Reverse motives in six other scenes.

You may wind up retaining the original motivations in many scenes in your novel, but it is likely that some of them will become more engaging after a motive reversal. 

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Added on April 4, 2010
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Charlotte, NC

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I've always found away to excite myself with writing, and it's always been my safe-haven. I love to play lacrosse, and swimming I've always been goo..