Merriam-Wenster defines it:
a motivating force, stimulus, or influence : INCENTIVE , DRIVE
LiteraryDevives.net defines it as:
In literature, “motivation” is defined as a reason behind a character’s specific action or behavior. This type of behavior is characterized by the character’s own consent and willingness to do something.
For me, motivation changes everything. Why I do something is, many times, far more important than what I do. Good or bad.
Example: I like to think that love, hope, and faith motivate most things that I do. Honestly though, I’m not that altruistic. I’m a lot more selfish than I admit. My actions do not reflect a loving motivation, but a selfish one.
A good character motivation can change how we as readers see and relate to that character. Maybe to the entire story.
So, here are my picks for top 5 Characters due to their motivation. In no particular order:
Top 5 for Character Study: Motivation
- Nobody from The Story Thieves Series
Nobody’s desire for complete autonomous control seems noble – to a point. He talks about freedom for all, but let’s be honest: he really just wants to be the one in control.
- Snape from the Harry Potter Series
Admit it – most of us absolutely hated Snape until we found out about his undying love for Lily. Then we saw him as a hero. Still didn’t like most of his actions, but they made a lot more sense.
- Katniss from The Hunger Games Trilogy
Is it selfless love that drives Katniss to volunteer, or selfish fear? Maybe both? Love, fear, self-loathing, and good-ol-fashioned pissed-off-ness. You cannot deny her genuine heart, even if she isn’t completely sure about her own motivation.
- Starr Carter from The Hate You Give
Trying to figure out who you are while your world is burning around you in more ways than you can fathom – now that’s motivation. Starr finds a strength and voice she didn’t know she had, and it’s something to behold.
- Zélie Adebola from Children of Blood and Bone
I’m a sucker for characters who have their worlds torn apart, but find a strength and power that shocks even them. The transformation that Zelie undergoes because of the simple motivation of bringing back hope for her people, her father, and herself.
All right, now it’s your turn. Tell me what characters you find most intriguing when you think about their motivations. You can give as much or as little reason why.