Motivated Characterization                   
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three basic questions are:
        who am I?, what do I feel? and what do I want?
     Yet believable developed motivated characters must coherently and consistently work out such questions in their own way, not just the writer, in order to actually move the audience, and not just the writer...
 
Plausible characters, like unto real people, require adequate motivation for their deeds and dialogue. Drama is people doing amazing things for very good reasons. But melodrama is just people doing amazing things for bad or utterly nonexistent reasons. In real life, as in drama, true character is revealed in conflict, either adversity or opportunity or both, under pressure to lower ones guard and show, demonstrate, what we are really made of and ever grow.

 

What defines the level of inner conflict and ambivalence?

A. Most standard and obvious would be to dismiss melodrama in any terms of inferiority to true drama, bathos in terms over shooting the mark of pathos, and inner conflict specifically, as a merely a special case or level of conflict, generally. Far more illuminating and precise, however, to move from bathos to melodrama and thence to motivated characterization, because it is bathos that is key to the dramatic failure and limitations of melodrama precisely because melodrama is an oft bathetic inadequacy of motivation in characterization. After all, there would be little drama in passionlessly superficial Behaviorism. Indeed, conflict remains crucial psychologically on the inside as interpersonally in the world outside, and more dramatic character motivation truly depends upon the all important tension on the level of distressing inner conflict, conflicting emotions, sympathies or priorities continually stimulated by circumstances or situation either in the present plotline or the past back-story.

Moral dilemmas arise when duties come into conflict, and no ready procedure towards resolution presents itself. Likewise, conflicting duties may require logically or physically incompatible active response, while dereliction of either constitutes moral wrong.

“We must believe in free will, we have no choice --Isaac Bashevis

The gap in Behaviorism was never cognitive, but Psychodynamic all along. Behavior, including action and expression or dialogue,  is often actually less mediated by cognitive events than by Psychodynamic events, feelings and motivations to be specific, often with inner conflict, in an observable (show: don't tell) cycles of Motivational Reaction Units. Cognition is a rational function of the ego, Phenomenologically manifest in reflection.

The dramatic scene breaks down into Motivation-Reaction Units: Immediate reactions are often reflexive, but then conscious deliberation ensues upon what action to take next. Or does it? Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood or recognized in hindsight. Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. Hence, Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into cognitive dissonance, that, even as manifest in dialogue as Antiprocess, is the inner conflict of dishonest hypocrisy. Frequently, the self conscious illusion of individual will is only the burden of responsibility in hindsight, an artifact of the personal narrative facilitating growth which is possible only out of regret, Ecclesiastical wisdom such as increaseth sorrow. For not only, in the Socratic wisdom of Will Rogers, are we all ignorant only on different subjects, but perhaps even variously callow. Indeed, as Nietzsche declares: "Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had."

Some say that one becomes addicted to shame when another's heart is closed to one, because, however excruciating, the sheer megalomania of taking the blame protects one from the ugly truth that we really have no control over others and the universe or God. We can't make either love us or, ultimately, even protect those who do. Put more simply, then, and in complete good faith, powerlessness, the impotent helplessness of the human condition is terminally demeaning.

And beyond direct action, our influence upon others may often be even the more misguided and deluded.

Characters develop out of situation, and plot ideas emerge from characters in different situations and the actions undertaken because of their relationships and conflict on every level, the friction entailed as characters come into contact, every level of dramatic conflict, internal and external, the classic reversal as in the estrangement of the bullied idealistic whistle blower.
 Put the whistle blowers in charge!

Any good story needs conflict on every level, not only the action and adversity of external conflict together with the drama of well motivated interpersonal conflict, friction even among friends and allies, as with Spock and Bones, probing and bickering, but also, especially and as with Spock, the drives of inner conflict, ambivalence and angst, with all of the obstacles life provides us to carry with us, inside. 

Cognitive dissonance even unto crimestop, is the emotionally suppressed inner conflict of denial and hypocrisy, Existential bad faith, irresponsible and often resentful decidophobia, all as manifest in dialogue as: Antiprocess. At any moment and under any circumstances, anyone may be pressed and cowed into hesitation and silence for fear that to speak up may reflect poorly, exercise futility, bring adverse consequences or even do harm. Anyone manipulated into cognitive dissonance has immediately deep down already sensed bullying the dishonest malice in that somehow one knew not to dare question to closely. In the preconscious frightened reflex of cognitive dissonance intimidation is instantly covered up by buying into the rationalization. In the evocation of cognitive dissonance, sudden humiliating and threatening element of intimidating surprise is accompanied by convenient rationalization so as to instantly tempt the sheer reflex face saving denial. Such manipulatively hectic interaction in the elicitation of cognitive dissonance may be broken down into Motivation-Reaction Units.

The event may then be forgotten in all the frenzy, or else may rise to consciousness, evoking in autonomy, the liberating shame and anger against all that is ego alien. Or else, in the lamentably heteronymous failure of growth or Positive Disintegration, cognitive dissonance opens the way only to further long term denial, buying into all manner of toxic rationalization and delusion, with persistent destructive and bizarre acting out, often called: drinking the Kool-Aid. The expression, of course, derives from the Jonestown massacre, a notorious cult mass suicide. According to the personal construct psychology of George Kelly, hostility or: inimicality, is an angry denial in willful refusal to accept refutation of vested hypothesis or world view. Instead of striving to realigning feelings and thoughts in any correspondence to objective reality, hostile people attempt to force or coerce the world to fit their view, even if this is a forlorn hope, and even if it entails varying degrees of emotional expenditure or harm to self and others.

While challenging apparent
reality with alternative hypothesis, is Epistemologically and Methodologically indispensible, and persistence in the face of failure is often laudable and fruitful, in the case of hostility there is the distinction that the evidence is not accurately assessed when the decision is made to repeat the same approach. Instead the evidence is suppressed or denied from awareness. All unfavorable evidence which might suggest that a prior belief is flawed is to various degrees ignored and willfully avoided. Metaphorically, it can be said that reality is being held for ransom, and in this sense hostility is a form of psychological extortion: an often self-serving ongoing endeavor to force reality to produce the desired feedback of Existential Validation, even by acting out in crime, serial bullying and ideological culture war, by individuals and groups in every social context, in order that preconceptions become ever more widely validated. Hostility is a response that forms part of discounting of unwanted cognitive dissonance.

“He who dreads hostility too much is unfit to rule.”  — Seneca

Existentially, what then is freedom, indeed for whom is freedom? The dramatic scene breaks down into Motivation-Reaction Units: Immediate reactions are often reflexive, but then conscious deliberation ensues upon what action to take next. Or does it? Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood or recognized in hindsight. Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually.

Motivations and goals as ever set forth thereby, values, meaning as only created in the mind, interpretation, moral sympathies and empathies included, so often ambivalent, are not willfully intended in free agency but received and imprinted in receptivity as we discover ourselves subject all thereto. Most dramatically, relationship, the impression made by characters upon one another, often dawns upon the individual in emotional response to events unfolding. Only then is action undertaken, consistently with characterization, often giving rise to conflict and Setting The scene.

Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy. When there arises a discrepancy between the feelings and activity of a character, tension mounts all the more, the greater the obstacles to resolution of whatever ambivalence and conflict.

And whereas Freudian ambivalence denotes inner conflict between differing motivations in terms of emotions, love and hate, attraction and revulsion, fear and desire, necessitating all manner of defenses and denials, not to mention approach-avoidance in Behaviorism, the Cognitive Dissonance Theory of Leon Festinger posits that inconsistency among related beliefs, the mounting tension of dishonest and hypocritical double-think regardless of the tightly dishonest crimestop that, even as manifest in dialogue as Antiprocess, is the inner conflict of dishonest hypocrisy, and particularly as relating to identity and self image, either logically inconsistent or incompatible with the person's past experience, yet supplies motivation to change whatever is easiest along the path of least emotional resistance, attitude or behavior, in order thereby to regain cognitive consistency meaning consonance amongst personal beliefs.

After all, what will pose the greater resistance for any individual, is determined by the interplay of character and situation. Situation may offer the test of character, failing which Entropy increases and growth is still born.

For, alas, copping out can be so much easier. Indeed, the first lapse of integrity often occurs in a nervous and careless instant. And without adequate inner disturbance or self examination, ease becomes habit, and habit, seeming commitment. Rationalization then follows in service thereto

Which may go towards explanation of why people troubled by discovering what they actually want, so often then sacrifice their own happiness, while victims of situational forces or conniving bullying emotional extortion, particularly in relationships or by consensus manipulation, tend to rationalize instead of escaping or effectively defending themselves and their true integrity. Because in the involvement and immediacy of momentary experience, there is simply less resistance in caving in to threatening pressure and backing down from risky opportunity. And such is the inertia or momentum of situation against character, especially when character may not be not adequately reinforced or even in any way actually undermined. Uncertainty and the need for reassurance also account for vulnerability even to somewhat lame excuses.

Hence, as a matter of sex roles, all the above explains precisely why women all so often prefer sex with men who are such complete assholes, so that nice guys loose out! Because, all rationalization aside, intimidation is the easier state, and acceptance far more challenging. And not, as the most woefully inadequate often prefer to believe, because women are all just helpless and cynical congenital whores naturally drawn to self-absorbed domineering and preferably at least wealthy protectors. Indeed, all too often, what is common and even normal is not always adaptive to optimal survival or even pleasure principle, let alone any loftier meaningful value such as true love, but only to the most superficial and immediate dilemma of stimulus. -An obstacle of natural and ingrained knee-jerk temptation and despair which growth and authenticity must surmount, a drama with the outcome ever in doubt.

 

Q. What is sublimation?

“Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it.”  Don Herold  

A. Sublimation is the transformation of inner conflicted impulses, emotions aroused, into anything however less threatening of inner conflict, a defense, a learning and coping mechanism of compromise seeking satisfaction while avoiding and minimizing anxiety, that allows the enactment of unacceptable impulses by repression and modification of whatever natural expression of an impulse or instinct, redirecting said into any more socially or personally acceptable behavior. -Whether from chopping wood to vent anger, or channeling sexual libido into dramatic writing. Quite simply, many social or dramatic circumstances or situations are inherently contradictory.

Heteronomy bullies and extracts great investment in all manner of social and institutional punishment and reward systems. All such amounts only to the Absurd Existential bait-and-switch of sublimation of whatever the wrong challenge rewarded with whatever the wrong prize. Then desperate hopes may endure, of later somehow trading it all in for ones actual hearts desire and thus recovering ones own long lost and craven bartered soul. But ambivalence or surrender are the most common outcomes. Sublimation is, after all, denial, bait-and-switch. Sublimation is strategy of the moment towards the partial satiation of immediate feelings, the gratification of an impulse goal put forth whereof being retained, but whose object or attachment is displaced, and also what shapes the character in the long term out from deep seated emotions. Sublimation then, is essentially a fateful deep-seated bait-and-switch, the object of said bait-and-switch being to persuade howsoever buying into whatever substitute actually within reach or more permissible, as a means of denial over the disappointment over not attaining the actually desired bait.

However, should attachment to whatever object of substitution fail, sublimation will break down. Any breakdown of sublimation in motivated character driven plotting, relates to growth and the emergence of true goals from whatever false ones as ever put forth. But in the interim, if successful and adaptive, sublimation redirects even the most troublesome emotion into however constructive behavior, displacement in the service of any higher cultural or socially useful purpose, as in the creation of art or inventions. However, sublimation can also be actually dangerous, maladaptive and bizarre, creatively rationalizing to assuage the anxiety of the individual, but implausible socially, perhaps adapted to different or even quite dysfunctional prior circumstance. Indeed, the Existential bay-and-switch of sublimation may even be effected deliberately by means of sly and devious dishonest Behavioral manipulation. Indeed, sublimation may be the product on indoctrination and the internalization of extrinsic motivators.

Alas, human striving remains all to often misguided and derailed: Indeed, all manner of very particular cultural niche market segments are often defined by what turn out to be the mere trappings of misdirected focus upon mystique. To wit: the mystique associated whatever focus of shared interest (cause, ideology, marketing of coveted acquisition, fashion statement, topic of conversation or group activity, etc.) merely howsoever associated in the mind, with whatever actual deeply frustrated value. Thus does whatever such particular ostensible purpose or focus, then assume place as the object of desire, replacing confused and forgotten pursuit of happiness. Subsequent ensuing fetish fixation of obsession may then become internalized into sublimation. -All in lieu of every relevant due diligence of investigation and strategy. For a real strategy must be as informed by investigation into whatever might be truly of essence. For there can be different possible means to the same ends. And it remains crucial to distinguish goals that are merely means, from the over arching goals that are the desired ends in of themselves. All to often the distinction becomes lost, between goals as are ends unto themselves, and goals merely being means along the way to whatever ends. Worse, focus is often misdirected even upon mere set pieces that may so easily vary as life's drama unfolds even much the same plot. So: How can the pursuit of happiness be reclaimed and steered back on course?
 
We all form each our own vivid picture of what we want our lives to be, and particularly in the imagination of an ideal social circle, the better to connect to vital resources and meet personal needs, tangible and intangible, all crucial to optimal fulfillment in authentic well being and human thriving. But the course remains uncharted and perilous, even after all the sages of old, the cutting edge of modern science, and the most wildly popular mass market gurus. Nothing is really obvious. Even the most ingenuous effort to meet  the most genuine need simply to share one's interests and passions, is also quite naturally motivated by many other social impulses. Alas however, even at best, connection forged upon common interests, simply does not carry the entire freight, so to speak, of broadest human social needs and desires. Indeed, as it turns out, shared interests as such, are least among compatibility criteria in friendship, social embedment and connection. And the powerful allure of whatever perception of communal identity is perhaps most notoriously irrelevant of chimera.

 

Q. What is growth?

“Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.”  — Jim Bishop

“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.”  — Max Frisch

“Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves. We lose as much to life as we do to death.”  — Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, 'A Woman of Independent Means'

A. The ineffable, even knowable, even transmissible, nevertheless defies explanation or description. And living knowledge (as opposed to knowledge that is rightly called: inert), serving renewal and vitality, is growth, the experience of change put into practice, learned behaviors never immutable but ever subject to readaptation, emergent in collective interaction, tacit, highly charged and redolent, profoundly with the sensibility of drama, may even skirt the ineffable, often defying ready articulation let alone routine management via knowledge-driven Epistemology.

Plausible characters, like unto real people, require adequate motivation for their deeds and dialogue. Drama is people doing amazing things for very good reasons. But melodrama is just people doing amazing things for bad or utterly nonexistent reasons. In real life, as in drama, true character is revealed in conflict, either adversity or opportunity or both, under pressure to lower ones guard and show, demonstrate, what we are really made of and ever grow.

“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all.” — Jim Morrison

Dramatic circumstances and emotion at disequilibrium may leave characters at the mercy of ever-fluctuating sensory reactions, either overwhelmed or withdrawn. Indeed, growth may be understood as unfolding delayed response as the individual must process events, emotion and information racing ahead of them. After all, stress causes difficulty in organizing and retrieving thoughts, words, answers, or responses.

Often a tragic protagonist in transition through a range of emotion undergoes an unfolding process of recognition called Anagnorisis, a difficult moral learning progression of errors, ranging from the foolish to the ingenious and from the admirable to the despicable, that are in the psyche systematically contributive to progress, in which any character, typically the main or principle character or protagonist, climactically comes to grips with or clearer understanding of their own nature and destiny.

Growth demands perseverance. Muscles only grow when stressed to failure and likewise character growth often accrues finally of regret over inner issues no less than external problems and conflict may derive from inciting incidents in "Act Zero,"  changes in the dawning of Ecclesiastical wisdom such as increaseth sorrow. For not only, in the Socratic wisdom of Will Rogers, are we all ignorant only on different subjects, but perhaps even variously callow. Indeed, as Nietzsche declares: "Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had."

Though suffering is hardly desirable at least barring Masochism of any kind, and though to weep and to cry out seem scarcely pleasures, nevertheless, given suffering, then to weep and to cry out are, nonetheless, are distinct desires for expression, nigh uncontainable and palpable, also linked to succorance to trouble others for sympathy and understanding to and to be comforted, and all motivated by any hope at all for the alleviation of suffering.

And indeed, whatever any benefit of human connection in return, the reciprocal impulse of succor inevitably entails the sharing of another's grief and suffering.

All the aforesaid are vital considerations of deep, paradoxical and somewhat convoluted hedonic calculus of essential character, growth and value, bereft thereof, and save by overcoming all obstacles thereto, no human being shall ever become whole or mature. Fixed and accurate self knowledge is never revealed via introspection, but rather, in an ever changing world, dynamic and evolving identity emerges by experimentation and adaptation.

All hence the Character Arc may be ascendant, declining or static.

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”
Anaïs Nin

By every Technique of Suspense plotting, the rising tension and of dramatic conflict signifies that the resolution of whatever the central problem is such as to increasingly press character(s) inevitably to take action in struggle with whoever or whatever the antagonist in some way that must one way or another bring the very values of said character(s) into question for them. Or, most dramatically, an attempt at howsoever the wiser course may instead press a character into conflict on every level with their own motivating values for which they will be compelled to sacrifice the easier way because the moral course and the more difficult among free willed choices may so often coincide.

Support better helps people grow in the face of challenge and even adversity. That is why in drama as in life, the protagonist must reach out to all manner of supporting characters in order best to confront the antagonist, preserver and grow.

Due to inherent moralistic social repression and denial of the individual, inevitable neurotic symptoms to whatever degree, classic Freudian slips and what dreams may come, together all afford shameful glimpses and clues  into the poetical, philosophical or literary meaning of  repressed intentions and motivations to action with involuntary purpose of which we are unconscious and thence to discovery of who we really are after all, “the disease called man” to quote Nietzsche.

Hence, misdirection, whether error circumstantially and honestly, by deliberate manipulation or even hamartia and self-deception, is key in moving from promise to catastrophe. Frequently, the self conscious illusion of individual will is only the burden of responsibility in hindsight, an artifact of the personal narrative facilitating growth.

Well rounded drama manifest conscious and even false goals put forth often in both inner turmoil as well as practical outer conflict with radically different unconscious desires unawares yet betrayed, demonstrated, shown, by their actions and growth or Positive Disintegration into entirely new goals put forth.

In other words, anyone may remain haunted by their past. One way or another, growth is a stirring and even compelling motivation and challenge of which we are often quite blithely unaware. The growth and development of feelings may be subtle or extreme, an epiphany, a sudden dawning or a subtle realization, or gradual alteration, resultant of conflict on every level, upon the character to demonstrate the story’s theme or meaning.

Meaning in the deepest sense, is dharma and karma, - plot, situation plus character motivation, which together equal dramatic destiny, because inherent meaning as a poetical figure, actually alludes to purpose of personal fulfillment, what matters deeply, growth toward self-actualization or at least autonomy, relevant value, and without which life itself threatens Zen futile Ecclesiastical vanity! and such as may be expressed, also, in the intention of deeds, including that which is most broadly signified in communication of message, information content, ideas, conveying Phenomenal subjective experience or understanding, TEXT and subtext all in CONTEXT, unless, most narrowly, scientifically, literally and precisely, denotatively or referentially, that which is signified and thus conjectured, is simply and clearly whatever corresponding objective reality, Ontologically, hence, also, implication, logically inherent consequence and Deterministic inescapable causal effect, that inspires bleak fatalism but also liberation, hope from knowledge and even wisdom, for discovering better choices, autonomously.

Because meaning, including value, none the least morality and even esthetics, are Phenomenal and contingent experience no less than comprehension and reflection along the arc of motivated character growth.

Some say that one becomes addicted to shame when another's heart is closed to one, because, however excruciating, the sheer megalomania of taking the blame is a denial of reality in order to protect one from the ugly truth that we really have no control over others and the universe or God. We can't make either love us or, ultimately, even protect those who do. Put more simply, then, and in complete good faith, powerlessness, the impotent helplessness of the human condition is terminally demeaning.

And beyond direct action, our influence upon others may often be even the more misguided and deluded.

Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood or recognized in hindsight. Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward?

Some say that one becomes addicted to shame when another's heart is closed to one, because, however excruciating, the sheer megalomania of taking the blame protects one from the ugly truth that we really have no control over others and the universe or God. We can't make either love us or, ultimately, even protect those who do. Put more simply, then, and in complete good faith, powerlessness, the impotent helplessness of the human condition is terminally demeaning.

In truth, any character's choices of strategy will be determined not only by their POV, situation or even entirely mechanistic particular involvement in whatever phase of any process considered, but also defined, guided and constrained by values, into somehow or other principled behavior. People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. Hence, Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy.  For any character's choice of strategy will be determined not only by their POV, situation or even entirely mechanistic particular involvement in whatever phase of any process considered, but also defined, guided and constrained by values, into somehow or other principled behavior.

As with real people, rounded and multifaceted characters may be subject to motivation transcending satiation of physical, emotional and social deficiencies, either by individual flaws to overcome, or holes, gaps in the make up of their personality, not just skills but essential qualities that one may need to acquire or better develop, learning, challenges confronting them or even by the distressing void that is the need for challenge, the attraction of ongoing self-actualization, betterment and improvement or at least autonomy, that true fulfillment yet never quelled or satiated, but even heightened, so long as fresh novel challenges are to be discovered along the way, even creative tension as is so sadly evaded by the complacent, so long as there always remains something more to aspire to, the possibility of change to make anyone at all interesting, and to grow along whichever Character Arc standard variant, to be transformed  as the plot unfolds.

Or at least if no such pat dramatic resolution, then some kind of however passing introspection, as in Minimalist, open and unresolved vignettes that might not affect change in the lives of the characters who come away much the same as when the story or sequence began, leaving unanswered questions for the audience to ponder. Or else simply outright failure to grow, even boredom and ennui, if not even some sort of collapse.

For
plot concerns drama, the conflict on every level that is inherent to situation, as to press and even exacerbate some such inner problem demanding growth. Hence plot may be derived from, and vary greatly depending upon, rounded and multifaceted characterization.

Indeed, unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characters, like real people, also grow differently along the Character Arc, even if not exactly according to the standard variants, responding to their experiences, even such extremes as those of the story values, by changing or by struggle to resist change, differently. As they seek to carry out their agendas, run into conflicts on every level, fail or succeed, and confront new problems, undergoing positive disintegration, unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characters, like real people, will not stay the same, for there are a number of  possible outcomes of crisis and inner conflict, growth differently even proportional to inner conflict. Indeed, people often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. Hence Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy. Misdirection, whether error circumstantially and honestly, by deliberate manipulation or even hamartia and self-deception, is key in moving from promise to catastrophe. The inner journey must match the outer journey, beginning from the Emotional Disturbance that is is internal corollary to it's trigger, the out-of-whack event, or vice versa.

A common subplot is the development of a a relationship, an alliance necessary to further the main plot. Virtually all relationships of whatever kind begin with some sort of first discovery, romance even courtship, so to speak, even "the honeymoon," but inevitably and come into conflict on many levels, friction which is normal and even healthy, and in order to survive must reach acceptance in order to commit to substantive cooperation and collaboration.

Prolong the Agony by making life difficult so as to motivate characters. Even pander to  vicarious wish fulfillment, but also inspire pathos and anticipation by the Technique of Suspense plotting, even dread from the discomfort of sheer aversion. Stir any range of emotions and force the reader to empathize, to feel. That's what makes for good entertainment, a real page turner.

The gap in Behaviorism was never cognitive, but Psychodynamic all along. Behavior, including action and expression or dialogue,  is often actually less mediated by cognitive events than by Psychodynamic events, feelings and motivations to be specific, often with inner conflict, in an observable (show: don't tell) cycles of Motivational Reaction Units. Cognition is a rational function of the ego, Phenomenologically manifest in reflection.

So, don't be nice to your character! No Powderpuff Pitty-Pat! Throughout the plot, the tension, even discomfort and aversion, of suspense, anticipation and pathos, is heightened by increasing difficulties, the personal emotional stakes continually raised, and character growth is pressed by worsening  complications for an active protagonist, definitely including onstage sex! So navigate the various possible paths and dead ends and to find stories always dig deeper for insight into difficult struggle.

Just such conflict even on levels beneath the surface TEXT and CONTEXT may, nevertheless, emerge through subtext, What Lurks Beneath, shown by way of each of the senses in setting, body language, action and atmospheric tone along with the Subtle and Delicate Art of Doublespeak dialogue, may either harmonize with text, or in true Method subtext, even disagree with text, subtly, so as to draw attention into a  deeper vein or level of conflict by being subtly wrong, key to show or evoke characterization, wherein motivation should be apparent, even through thoughts, however expository.

Differing viewpoints upon relationships parallel not only the objective and subjective persons of narrative but also communication and the character interaction of plot and growth, systematically.

“People's level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively the case.”  — Albert Bandura

After all, In drama, the conflict on every level that is inherent to situation, there are four elements of motivation:
What do characters want, goals ever put forth, and why, what motivates them? And what aids or hinders whatever their quest? In dramatizing controversy, good motivated and dramatic dialogue makes it hard to tell who is right and who is wrong. "In a good play, everyone is right." But how far would they go? Or will they change and grow?

Or else if a character seems the same at the end of a story as at the beginning, and fails however to grow, the reader at least should be be aware of whatever factors prevented or deterred said character from however growing and developing, that inertia becoming the subject of the story for want of anything more. 

Character motivation is human need defining the human condition, or, in 'Star Trek', the enigmatic and irresolvable "Human equation". Beyond practical interests, identity and principles not easily put up for trade and flaws, not only blatantly and predictably consistent and chronic sins and vices, but real dishonesty, that threaten all they hope for hold dear, that unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characters, just like real people of any depth, guard even at the cost of practical gain and happiness. 

Meaning and importance, all conceivable priorities and values, unless they are one way or another decisively intellectualized, profoundly detached and disengaged in the extreme, ultimately emanate from needs and desires, attraction or aversion, fundamental motivations, selfish or altruistic. Otherwise, there can only be apathy and hence no problems to relate to at all. Deeper motivation, even world view, characterization, however growth and the philosophical questions of drama, as distinguished by their dramatic gripping inherent conflict on every level, are all contextual function of the human condition or situation that has changed so drastically from the past that is the setting and milieu of historical fiction and into any modern time frame as reflected in contemporary culture, and most certainly will change into the future that is frequently subject matter of Science Fiction and futurological scenario planning.

 

 

Q. What is motivation? 

A. No, damn it, I am not referring to any inane Amway snake oil pep talks! 
                                                              -Not Behavioral motivators as exploited by sleazy motivational speakers.

Know thyself: Uniquely specific controlling desires eliciting the urgency and focus of stimulus struggle, are individually characteristic motivation. Even the engagement in struggle, in and of itself, helps stave off the suffering of painful need and deprivation. Indeed, desire in its own right can even be pleasurable.

At least when practicalities of basic survival needs have been met, and even of comfort, perhaps among the strongest controlling desires will always be from intrinsic social stimulus hungers to motivate character interaction.

Indeed, motivation is nothing ever so trivial and futile as as any so-called motivators, silly and primitive ploys of self manipulation, rather motivational drives every unique or common experienced or anticipated joy, pain or perspective that are the unique reasons for individual deeds and expression under whatever circumstances in the first place, and especially under conflict.

Dramatic motivation denotes either the sheer desire to act, to do something in particular or anything at all, or whatever frame of mind, emotions and character POV (Point Of View) upon situation or whatever plot circumstances or situation that arouses the desire to act or to something particular and also howsoever consistent with and unique to character.

Existentially, what then is freedom, indeed for whom is freedom? The dramatic scene breaks down into Motivation-Reaction Units: Immediate reactions are often reflexive, but then conscious deliberation ensues upon what action to take next. Or does it? Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood or recognized in hindsight. Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. Motivations and goals as ever set forth thereby, meaning as only created in the mind, interpretation, values, moral sympathies and empathies included, so often ambivalent, are not willfully intended in free agency but received and imprinted in receptivity as we discover ourselves subject all thereto. Most dramatically, relationship, the impression made by characters upon one another, often dawns upon the individual in emotional response to events unfolding.

Only then is action undertaken, consistently with characterization, often giving rise to conflict and Setting The scene.

Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy. When there arises a discrepancy between the feelings and activity of a character, tension mounts all the more, the greater the obstacles to resolution of whatever ambivalence and conflict.

Three basic questions remain:
        who am I?, what do I feel? and what do I want?
     Yet believable developed motivated characters must coherently and consistently work out such questions in their own way, not just the writer, in order to actually move the audience, and not just the writer...
 
He who has a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”  Friedrich Nietzsche
 
Plausible characters, like unto real people, require adequate motivation for their deeds and dialogue. Drama is people doing amazing things for very good reasons. But melodrama is just people doing amazing things for bad or utterly nonexistent reasons. In real life, as in drama, true character is revealed in conflict and under pressure to lower ones guard and show, demonstrate, what we are really made of and ever grow.

All emotions arise in response to circumstances or situation pertinent to individual or character motivation: despair when seemingly beyond control or improvement, fear in response to perceived threat to fulfillment, contentment or happiness, or anxiety when said threat seems vague or unclear, depression or grief from loss or wont and consequent unfulfillment, anger at the causal injustice behind any of the previous, while envy is of another seemingly in possession of that which one yearns for holding out such hopes, jealousy in the very idea of sharing seemingly entails fearful threat thereto, guilt at the panicked wish to undo mistakes threatening whatever such desired outcome, pride in successful action towards attainment thereof, desperation when the means remain unclear, excitement in the anticipation, love in relationship thereto, joy in direct contact therewith. [See also: sex!]

The gap in Behaviorism was never cognitive, but Psychodynamic all along. Behavior, including action and expression or dialogue,  is often actually less mediated by cognitive events than by Psychodynamic events, feelings and motivations to be specific, often with inner conflict, in an observable (show: don't tell) cycles of Motivational Reaction Units. Cognition is a rational function of the ego, Phenomenologically manifest in reflection.

“We must believe in free will, we have no choice — Isaac Bashevis

Because, by every Technique of Suspense plotting, the rising tension and of dramatic conflict signifies that the resolution of whatever the central problem is such as to increasingly press character(s) inevitably to take action in struggle with whoever or whatever the antagonist in some way that must one way or another bring the very values of said character(s) into question for them, even the very values that define character by consistently taking priority over other clearer and simpler interests and concerns. Or, most dramatically, an attempt at howsoever the wiser course may instead press a character into conflict on every level with their own motivating values for which they will be compelled to sacrifice the easier way because the moral course and the more difficult among free willed choices may so often coincide.

And so, no Powderpuff Pitty-Pat! To propel conflict, the Protagonist and Antagonist characters must display complementary psychologies along 8 basic parameters, such that the motivating desires and intentions of the Protagonist are bound to arouse the motivating fears of the Antagonist, and vice versa

Drama requires characters each with whatever their own motivating stake in the issues, decisions, dire yet at all free choices to make and the looming consequences thereof. And, to build tension and maintain interest and exploit every Technique of Suspense plotting, all attempts to back out must deteriorate and fail, but without such glaring plot holes as blithely overlooked or ignored obvious opportunities.

Characters need motivation over all. But, more, the plot chain of cause and effect very much includes stimulus and response. "Motivation-Reaction Units," as dubbed Dwight Swain, are an even smaller subdivision of action than the scene, wherein something happened and then someone reacts.

There are six core polemically purposeful and dramatic motivations for dialogue or expression, salient towards literate understanding or modeling of the rhetorical situation[ism] analysis.

Characters come to life when they speak and are revealed with dialogue that shows, even sans adverb tags.

Indeed, voice and tone afforded motivated character POV (Point Of View) upon situation often turns out more definitive to story in TEXT, CONTEXT and subtext, than premise and plot variation. This is because any motivated character's response, reaction or choice of strategy will be determined largely by their POV or subjectivity, reflection, situation with Representation of consciousness, perspective or even entirely mechanistic particular involvement in whatever phase of any process considered, but also defined, guided and constrained by values, into somehow or other principled behavior.

Emotion is submission to just such external experienced emotional triggers or stimuli, but also to memory and imagination of subjective inner life, identity and values, sentiment, tenderness, affection and involvement, meaning and pathos, all altering mood and behavior accordingly.

The profundity of the motivating emotional involvement may often be a factor of character, the personal ability to absorb and resist of the strong minded versus such weakness as to take most anything to heart, introverited and sentimental fantasy lives. Indeed, shyness may be seen as nothing more than the delay and hesitations of the mind running the multiple emotionally charged scenarios triggered.

There are many motivating emotional triggers, pleasant and unpleasant, favorable or unfavorable, according to character and situation. Motivations include aspects of characterization such as need or desire, fear, ambition, responsibility, curiosity, and interpersonal attachments. While need or desire draws approach or pursuit, while fear is the discomforting perception of risk, danger or even aversion, engendering threat avoidance by any means and ambition seeks any advantage presenting itself, and is readily drawn to intrigue, while responsibility is the superego pressure to respond from whatever such duty as demanded by any authority, allegiance or ideological values.

Curiosity is any natural inquisitive behavior, evident Empirically even by observation at all, in many animal species, and is the emotional aspect of living beings that engenders exploration, investigation and learning, even to the point of downright nosiness, a desire to know or learn even about people or things that do not concern one, an attraction in solving mysteries.

And especially, characters that care about others are easily drawn in and become involved. Otherwise, characters that have no reason to interact with the world about them also have no reason or motivations to become involved or advance the plot. And until somehow and however reluctantly motivated or involved, such will tend to stay at rest until utterly driven by situation, however also colored by what Stanislavski dubbed the "Given Circumstances," even however socially constructed, along with setting and back-story as a Gestalt.  

After all, stories are made memorable not merely in whatever empathy or curiosity merely as to the plot situation, but because of the reader or audience relationship, actual motivated feelings elicited for or even against the characters.

Always ask why any character acts or responds one way or another. Consistent motivation requires characters to react in any given incident, under whatever the proper conditions and causes in said given incident, for said characters to act in any given manner, even however plausibly contrived as required for the sake of the plot.

Otherwise, for the plot to require any character arbitrarily to behave out of character, constitutes as major and glaring a plot-hole, logical contradiction or inconsistency as any other lapse in logic or continuity. Indeed, beyond simple plot convenience or sheer authorial caprice, action, initiative and response, the smart moves and the stupid mistakes alike, can only really ever makes senses by being consistent with able characterization via believable motivation, both/either in hte sense of the inner feelings and of responses powerful enough to compel action and/or the compelling external factors drawing or pressing response.

Stories are made memorable not merely in whatever empathy or curiosity merely as to the plot situation, but because of the reader or audience relationship, actual motivated feelings elicited for or even against the characters.

And even though distant and ever superhuman characters unmoved by terrible events will never engage an audience, nevertheless, nor does well motivated characterization consist of overpowering shmaltzy melodramatic and Bathetic "smarm", of heroes "breast-beating," "chewing the furniture ," just hanging around emoting complete with violins and laugh track! Indeed, sentimentality and self pity are no less deadly to fiction than trying to be cute!

Because, in the end, it can't look like acting. "Writing on the nose" is an old Hollywood pejorative expression denoting dialog lacking the subtlety of subtext. After all, in real life, people rarely just come out and say what they really think. Therefore, motivated characters shouldn't either. Without being blatant, attitude and context come to light in the way that people talk to others consistently with how they take measure and relate to whomever they are talking to, and revealing as to how they feel about that person and perhaps as well, whatever the topic of conversation. The dramatic efficacy of revealing and motivated subtext is in frustrated desire, giving rise to need and ingenuity. Indeed, people often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually.

Gossip is the medium of reputation and accountability, the means by which one hopes to know what to expect of others. And the reader or audience is placed on the position of the individual listener no less than in real life, ever burdened with the responsibility to filter such inputs, to search out reliable sources at all, and to observe and discern when gossip is actually the more telling about the speaker than anything or anyone else!

Hence, unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characterization may best be shown or brought to the fore, in behavior even body language and dialogue with subtext, what the character says, thinks or  does, even, in the novel, demonstration by dimensioned anecdote, indeed, by what other characters say about the character and certainly by interaction between characters, and also reinforced and conveyed in the tone or even making metaphor, allegory and imagery extending beyond the setting and creative stagecraft, the Mise en Scène.

But not characters bludgeoning the reader with blatant cues how to react, laughing at their own jokes, crying at their own pain, and, over all, generally feeling everything so that the reader no longer has to!  
Blood 'n' guts In-yer-face  angst does not equal depth.
Let the reader have his own emotions.

Rather, what is particularly crucial is that, no less than real people in actuality, well motivated unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characters, each from their own unique POV, filtered perceptions and Interpretive Turn, must respond to events, to suspensefuly struggle with decisions each according to their own unique priorities, even to advance the plot, as confronted with an obstacle providing conflict on every level, tension, even discomfort and aversion, of the Technique of Suspense plotting, anticipation and pathos, capturing the attention and motivating the sympathies of the audience. 

Prolong the Agony by making life difficult so as to motivate characters. Even pander to  vicarious wish fulfillment, but also inspire pathos, anticipation, the Technique of Suspense plotting, anticipation and pathos, even dread and even the discomfort of sheer aversion. Stir any range of emotions and force the reader to empathize, to feel. That's what makes for good entertainment, a real page turner.

Meaning in the deepest sense, is dharma and karma, - plot, situation plus character motivation, which together equal dramatic destiny, because inherent meaning as a poetical figure, actually alludes to purpose of personal fulfillment, what matters deeply and without which life itself threatens Zen futile Ecclesiastical vanity! and such as may be expressed, also, in the intention of deeds, including that which is most broadly signified in communication of message, information content, ideas, conveying Phenomenal subjective experience or understanding, TEXT and subtext all in CONTEXT, unless, most narrowly, scientifically, literally and precisely, denotatively or referentially, that which is signified and thus conjectured, is simply and clearly whatever corresponding objective reality, Ontologically, hence, also, implication, logically inherent consequence and Deterministic inescapable causal effect, that inspires bleak fatalism but also liberation, hope from knowledge and even wisdom, for discovering better choices, autonomously.

Hence, misdirection, whether error circumstantially and honestly, by deliberate manipulation or even hamartia and self-deception, is key in moving from promise to catastrophe. Frequently, the self conscious illusion of individual will is only the burden of responsibility in hindsight, an artifact of the personal narrative facilitating growth.

Some say that one becomes addicted to shame when another's heart is closed to one, because, however excruciating, the sheer megalomania of taking the blame protects one from the ugly truth that we really have no control over others and the universe or God. We can't make either love us or, ultimately, even protect those who do. Put more simply, then, and in complete good faith, powerlessness, the impotent helplessness of the human condition is terminally demeaning.

And beyond direct action, our influence upon others may often be even the more misguided and deluded.

Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood or recognized in hindsight. Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. Hence, Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy When there arises a discrepancy between the feelings and activity of a character, tension mounts all the more, the greater the obstacles to resolution of whatever ambivalence and conflict.

Identity is often associated with habit, and yet, the public persona seldom matches the Phenomenal reflection of inner life, POV, 'spin,' interpretive frame of reference, so much of which, in turn, us filtered through our meager and misguided self-understanding. Motivation drives events and waits to be discovered or revealed. For there are levels of motivation unfolding, as, for example, in the tycoon and womanizer driven by greed, riches but a vehicle to social acceptance, in turn, after all, the yearning of the unloved, long bereaved, betrayed or abandoned and traumatized. Any overt motivated goal as ever put forth might be some sort of solution to a more secret deeper problem or formative event.

Tautologically, nothing matters unless it matters to somebody somehow. Apathy and futility mask desperation, that can only be countered by hope in some demonstrable utility or, better still, relevance. Now, in either the plot oriented or character driven story foci, people react to events or situation, particularly crises. But motivated characters can also also be proactive. Indeed, beyond approach, avoidance and even rising to a challenge, motivated characters may even seek and find challenge or challenge themselves, perhaps even from the need to grow.

Eschew the melodramatic implausible convenience of the the Fairy Tale Empathic Universe. On stage or off, every peripheral character remains central to their own personal story, motivated and independent, and should so behave. Unless the story is driven entirely by a completely external situation, plotting depends upon motivated characters as the building blocks of conflict on every level.

“People's level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively the case.”    Albert Bandura

In drama, the conflict in every level that is inherent to situation, there are four elements of thirteen possible motivation:
What do characters want, goal ever put forth and why, what motivates them? And what aids or hinders whatever their quest? In dramatizing controversy, good motivated and dramatic dialogue makes it hard to tell who is right and who is wrong. "In a good play, everyone is right." But how far would they go? Or will they change and grow?

Just such conflict even beneath the surface TEXT and CONTEXT may, nevertheless, emerge through subtext, What Lurks Beneath, shown by way of each of the senses in setting, action and atmospheric tone along with the Subtle and Delicate Art of Doublespeak dialogue, may either harmonize with text, or in true Method subtext, even disagree with text, subtly, so as to draw attention into a deeper vein or level of conflict by being subtly wrong, key to show or evoke characterization, wherein selected motivation should be apparent, even through thoughts, however expository.

Events that are not completely unrelated and extraneous may simply follow inevitably from the plot logic unless there is some twist, or be informative of situation, test the character and accrue self knowledge, or engage conflict on every level, even climactically.

Each event in sequence that follows from motivated character action consistent with background, must in turn initiate from observable proximate stimulus unless entirely emerging from inner life, and, either way, rather than simply remaining mysterious, known only the mind of the character, must one way or another be key to show intelligibly to the audience, even if none of any other characters; either way, in turn, quite probably another vitally important plot point. Whenever the cause and effect chain ever omits such links, expect plot holes stumbling amid succession of unrelated events.

Building beyond tension of emotion alone (an indefinite subjective sensation experienced as a state of arousal), motivation is even disposition toward action and choices, free will, an internal state or condition (sometimes described as a need, desire, or want) that serves to activate or energize behavior and give it direction, internal state or condition that activates behavior and gives it direction, desire or want that compels and ever puts forth motivated goal-oriented behavior, the influence of needs and desires on the intensity and direction of behavior and/or the arousal, direction, and persistence of behavior driving the plot and character arc.

The inner journey must match the outer journey, beginning from the Emotional Disturbance that is is internal corollary to it's trigger, the out-of-whack event, or vice versa. People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. Hence, Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy. Misdirection, whether error circumstantially and honestly, by deliberate manipulation or even hamartia and self-deception, is key in moving from promise to catastrophe.

Motivation initiates and then sustains behavior and action as volition from human need defining the human condition, or, in 'Star Trek', the enigmatic and Existentially irresolvable "Human equation". Beyond practical interests, identity and principles not easily put up for trade and flaws that threaten all they hope for hold dear, that unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characters, just like real people of any depth, guard even at the cost of practical gain and happiness. 

Characters develop out of situation, and plot ideas emerge from characters in different situations and the actions undertaken because of their relationships and conflict on every level, the friction entailed as characters come into contact, dramatic conflict, internal and external, classic reversal in social connection as in the estrangement of the bullied idealistic whistle blower.
 Put the whistle blowers in charge!

The question of meaning in the deeper sense, as in the proverbial Meaning of Life, actually pertains to motivation, signifying whatever valued prospect of fulfillment or else only sheer futility, Ecclesiastical vanity.

And in case of just such utter futility, Ecclesiastical vanity, then there is no use even bemoaning thereof. Yet so much as the aforesaid common sense may seem easier said than done, given actual human nature and behavior. And indeed, the embrace of and surrender to futility is the primary motivated goal ever put forth of the Zen...

Meaning and importance, all conceivable priorities and values, unless they are one way or another decisively intellectualized, profoundly detached and disengaged in the extreme, ultimately emanate from needs and desires, attraction or aversion, fundamental motivations, selfish or altruistic. Otherwise, there can only be apathy and hence no problems to relate to at all. Deeper motivation, even world view, characterization, however growth and the philosophical questions of drama, as distinguished by their dramatic gripping inherent conflict on every level, are all contextual function of the human condition or situation that has changed so drastically from the past that is the setting and milieu of historical fiction and into any modern time frame as reflected in contemporary culture, and most certainly will change into the future that is frequently subject matter of Science Fiction and futurological scenario planning.

 

A. Click HERE! You know you want to! 
Discover why sex really is quite possibly the most important thing!

 

Q. What is Bathos?

A. The very opposite of real Pathos is Bathos [Specialty Definitions], meaning "depth", seemingly insincere pathos, either transparently phony, even overtly melodramatic, or else deliberately ironic, either way, a change from a serious or even grandiose subject, descending, sinking into to a disappointing one, intentional absurdity or unintentional naive camp, abrupt and seemingly involuntary transition from the elevated to the commonplace, mixing the very serious with the very trivial, the sublime and the ridiculous, which creates absurd effect by straining for some heightened effect and overshooting the mark, instead falling into the ludicrous and comedic anticlimax. As in the mock heroic burlesque of the super cool, wherein the dauntless hero makes light of grave danger, but in the same breath becomes peevish, overemphasizing anything picayune.

 

Q. What is melodrama?

A. In the pejorative, melodrama generally denotes low, mawkish maudlin mushy schmaltzy fiction such as typical of the Soap Opera genre, even true life confessions and the like, stereotypical characters, Romance Clichés to Avoid -- Or Reconstruct, complete with exaggerated emotions and simplistic conflict emphasizing emotional vicissitudes and tragic occurrences, traditionally overpoweringly presented in an overwrought manner (much like unto the swelling background music for which the very word 'melodrama' literally and historically derives from the Greek 'melos', meaning song or music), and consequently often "smarmy" even to the point of the Bathetic instead of the Pathetic, going beyond the mere incidental symbolic imagery of Pathetic Fallacy, approaching the implausible convenience of the the fairytale Empathic Universe, and all in all quite blatant and lacking subtlety, poorly motivated, weak in characterization and however growth needed to drive a causal plot dramatically and thereby to show, authentically, intelligently and creatively, instead of telling or, worse, overstating.

Indeed, the often fairytale like melodramatic plot, such as it is, usually concerns victimized or suffering protagonists and a mixture of difficulties among lovers, family, friends, or the community in stories typically encompassing both familiar and romantic themes. Melodrama, likewise featuring fairly flat characters spouting dialogue on the nose,  is shamelessly simplistic and formulaic in striking the strongest and most obvious emotional cords at every opportunity.

Plausible characters, like unto real people, require adequate motivation for their deeds and dialogue. Drama is people doing amazing things for very good reasons. But melodrama is just irresponsible people and their utterly amazing behavior for bad or utterly nonexistent reasons. In real life, as in drama, true character is revealed in conflict and under pressure to lower ones guard and show, demonstrate, what we are really made of and ever grow.

Manipulation may seemingly imply dispassionate calculation, but such need not always be the case. Indeed, acting out  impulsively from the ever lively unconscious, is behavior that can be no less selfish and manipulative for all vivid self involvement entailed. Real life melodramatic social or interpersonal headgames in particular, like unto melodramatic fiction, still refers to purposefully and even blatantly pressing emotional buttons to leverage desired response despite impulsivity even from howsoever entirely authentic feeling and crucial issues.

Endemic False Humanity, in which soap-opera elements of purported human interest are stuffed into the story willy-nilly, whether or not they advance the plot or contribute to whatever point of the story, if any, must render the actions of such contrived characters irritatingly irrelevant, their problems, after all, having been invented from whole cloth just for them to emote all about.

Motivated characterization in fiction, like authenticity in real people, consist not of overpowering shmaltzy melodramatic and Bathetic "smarm", of heroes "breast-beating," "chewing the furniture ," just hanging around emoting complete with laugh track! Rather, Characterization may be brought to the fore, shown in behavior and dialogue, what the character says or thinks, or  does, and by what other characters say about the character and by interaction between characters. But not characters bludgeoning the reader with blatant cues how to react, laughing at their own jokes, crying at their own pain, and, over all, generally feeling everything so that the reader no longer has to! Blood and guts angst does not equal depth. Let the reader have his own emotions.

The needless (melo)drama of pointless conflict.
Headgames
 
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
 
Theories of Melodrama  
 
Sensation and Melodrama
 
Writing and Selling Confessions  

Luckily, by extension, another mercifully at all more elevated and dramatic sense of the word 'melodrama' is as indicates that which may be more properly and distinctly categorized as a more dramaturgically heroic variant of the Morality Play, though also encompassed by what is sometimes called the melodramatic genre

 

Q. What are characterization and character development?  

Watch your thoughts; they become words
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
      dubiously attributed to:
— Frank Outlaw
 
 
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." —   Karl Jung

 

A. Why, even a child, coaxed into drawing from a fictional situation, can sketch out a bare bones motivated character, a quick sketch on the spot.

Character as an adjective, refers to disposition, temperament which is in sum of emotional, intellectual and physical traits defining likely and consistent action and reaction, nature and individual personality, and building character denotes cultivation of individual traits or disposition, temperament,  nature and individual personality howsoever valued and extolled, especially morally, indeed as opposed to mere idiosyncrasies or character flaws outright.

For motivated action in character unfolds according to whatever capacity or role played.

All hence, as a noun, a character is distinctive personage, actual or dramatic particularly, destiny unfolding from motivated action consistent to traits or disposition, temperament,  nature and individual personality all within the parameters of circumstance, situation or plot. Indeed, classic movies are often said to have simple plots but complex characters.

Existentially, what is freedom, indeed for whom is freedom? The dramatic scene breaks down into Motivation-Reaction Units: Immediate reactions are often reflexive, but then conscious deliberation ensues upon what action to take next. Motivations and goals as ever set forth thereby, values, moral sympathies and empathies included, so often ambivalent, are not willfully intended in free agency but received and imprinted in receptivity as we discover ourselves subject all thereto. Most dramatically, relationship, the impression made by characters upon one another, often dawns upon the individual in emotional response to events unfolding. Only then is action undertaken, consistently with characterization, often giving rise to conflict and Setting The scene.

Know thyself: Uniquely specific controlling desires eliciting the urgency and focus of stimulus struggle, are individually characteristic motivation. Even the engagement in struggle, in and of itself, helps stave off the suffering of painful need and deprivation. Indeed, desire in its own right can even be pleasurable.

At least when practicalities of basic survival needs have been met, and even of comfort, perhaps among the strongest controlling desires will always be from intrinsic social stimulus hungers to motivate character interaction.

Plausible characters, like unto real people, require adequate motivation for their deeds and dialogue. Drama is people doing amazing things for very good reasons. But melodrama is just irresponsible people and their utterly amazing behavior for bad or utterly nonexistent reasons. In real life, as in drama, true character is revealed in conflict and under pressure to lower ones guard and show, demonstrate, what we are really made of and ever grow.

Because, by every Technique of Suspense plotting, the rising tension and of dramatic conflict signifies that the resolution of whatever the central problem is such as to increasingly press character(s) inevitably to take action in struggle with whoever or whatever the antagonist in some way that must one way or another bring the very values of said character(s) into question for them.

Characters need to be at all up to their challenges, but only barely. Don't be nice to your characters. No Powderpuff Pitty-Pat Prolong the Agony by making life difficult so as to motivate characters. Even pander to vicarious wish fulfillment, but also inspire pathos, anticipation, by every Technique of Suspense plotting, even dread and the outright discomfort of sheer aversion. Stir any range of emotions and force the reader to empathize, to feel. That's what makes for good entertainment, a real gripping page turner.

To propel conflict, the Protagonist and Antagonist characters must display complementary psychologies along 8 basic parameters, such that the motivating desires and intentions of the Protagonist are bound to arouse the motivating fears of the Antagonist, and vice versa. Throughout the plot, the tension and pathos, even discomfort and aversion, of every Technique of  suspense in plotting, building tension and anticipation, are all heightened as thing are made more difficult, the personal emotional stakes are raised, and character growth is pressed by worsening complications for an active protagonist, definitely including onstage sex! Virtually all relationships of whatever kind begin with some sort of first discovery, romance even courtship, so to speak, even "the honeymoon," but inevitably and come into conflict on different levels, friction which is normal and even healthy, and in order to survive must reach acceptance in order to commit to substantive cooperation and collaboration.

 

Drama requires characters each with whatever their own motivating stake in the issues, decisions, dire yet at all free choices to make and the looming consequences thereof. And, to build tension and maintain interest and exploit every Technique of Suspense plotting, all attempts to back out must deteriorate and fail, but without such glaring plot holes as blithely overlooked or ignored obvious opportunities. And characters need motivation over all. But, more, the plot chain of cause and effect very much must include stimulus and response. Thoughts and reactions must be revealed and shown, for the story to remain coherent.

The profundity of the motivating emotional involvement may often be a factor of character, the personal ability to absorb and resist of the strong minded versus such weakness as to take most anything to heart, introverited and sentimental fantasy lives. Indeed, shyness may be seen as nothing more than the delay and hesitations of the mind running the multiple emotionally charged scenarios triggered.

Well rounded characters manifest conscious and even false goals set forth often in both inner turmoil as well as practical outer conflict with radically different unconscious desires unawares yet betrayed, demonstrated, shown, by their actions and growth into entirely new goals set forth.

Indeed, voice and tone afforded motivated character POV (Point Of View) upon situation often turns out more definitive to story in TEXT, CONTEXT and subtext, even than plot variation.

Because, any motivated character's response, reaction or choice of strategy will be determined largely by their POV or subjectivity, reflection, situation with Representation of  consciousness, perspective or even entirely mechanistic particular involvement in whatever phase of any process considered, but also defined, guided and constrained by values, into somehow or other principled behavior.

There are many motivating emotional triggers, pleasant and unpleasant, favorable or unfavorable, according to character and situation. Motivations include aspects of characterization such as need or desire, fear, ambition, responsibility, curiosity, and interpersonal attachments. While need or desire draws approach or pursuit, while fear is the discomforting perception of risk, danger or even aversion, engendering threat avoidance by any means and ambition seeks any advantage presenting itself, and is readily drawn to intrigue, while responsibility is the superego pressure to respond from whatever such duty as demanded by any authority, allegiance or ideology.

Curiosity is any natural inquisitive behavior, evident even by observation in many animal species, and is the emotional aspect of living beings that engenders exploration, investigation and learning, even to the point of downright nosiness, a desire to know or learn even about people or things that do not concern one, an attraction in solving mysteries.

And especially, characters that care about others are easily drawn in and become involved. Otherwise, characters that have no reason or motivation to interact with the world about them also have no reason or motivation to become involved or advance the plot. And until somehow and however reluctantly motivated or involved, such will tend to stay at rest until utterly driven by situation, however also colored by what Stanislavski dubbed the "Given Circumstances," even however socially constructed, along with setting and back-story as a Gestalt.  

Characters come to life when they speak and are revealed with dialogue that shows, even sans adverb tags.

After all, stories are made memorable not merely in whatever empathy or curiosity merely as to the plot situation, but because of the reader or audience relationship, actual motivated feelings elicited for or even against the characters.

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”   Samuel Johnson

No less than real people, characters are defined not only internally, but by networking, by their relationships and by the nature of their associations and influence.

Differing viewpoints upon relationships parallel not only the objective and subjective persons of narrative but also communication and the character interaction of plot and growth, systematically.

Moreover, well rounded fictional characters like unto the real people they generally represent, are wont to associate emotionally to setting via meaningful key "objects" or personal symbols, not only real physical props, decor, senses, smell, mood, ambiance, light and sound, but also triggers of memory and motivation perhaps focused thereupon, sentimentality after a prolonged absence, or to heighten or show any range of affect and motivation from tragic loss to pleasant anticipation.

Voice and tone afforded any motivated character's response, reaction or choice of strategy that will be determined largely by their POV, Point Of View, subjectivity, reflection, situation with Representation of consciousness, perspective or even entirely mechanistic particular involvement in whatever phase of any process considered, but also defined, guided and constrained by values, into somehow or other principled behavior. Indeed, motivated character POV (Point Of View) upon situation often turns out more definitive to story in TEXT, CONTEXT and subtext, even than plot variation.  

“Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.”  

Descriptions are often intended to reveal moral or psychological aspects of character. Motivated characterization is shown by external description of physical appearance including even physical characteristics that constitute symbolic elements along with meaningful names, Setting The scene and more, and also via relationships and Contrast and Correspondence between characters and their events (foil), with development or not, and any better hidden revelation and understanding gleaned from the reactions of others, how other behave towards them and how they are spoken to, dialogue, action and interaction; but also revelations of any character's own thoughts and feelings, via straight exposition or rhetorical discourse directly providing needed background information from the authorial POV, introspection of any character's private inner most thoughts and feelings from the POV of inner life, even interior monologue attempting to convey or portray in words the process of consciousness or thought as a means of narrating a story, even stream-of-consciousness of experience, the entire subjective Phenomena, as it passes by, often quite at random. It is said that actions speak louder than words, yet, unless the author takes care, readers may often miss the irony, and judge the character by much deliberation instead of whatever little deed, however contrasting and paradoxical.

Any character's free choice of strategy will be determined not only by their POV, situation or even entirely mechanistic particular involvement in whatever phase of any process considered, but also defined, guided and constrained by values, into somehow or other principled behavior.

Prolong the Agony by making life difficult so as to motivate characters. Even pander to wish  vicarious fulfillment, but also inspire pathos, anticipation, suspense even dread and even the discomfort of sheer aversion. Stir any range of emotions and force the reader to empathize, to feel. That's what makes for good entertainment, a real page turner.

Indeed, as a way of tapping those deeper, hidden motivations for a character's eventual objectives and actions, putting one’s self in the shoes of another person and imagining how that individual would feel about things, award-winning screen writer the late Steve Tesich described his story development process as one in which he began even by keeping a veritable journal of interior monologues and rumblings, a form of role play, character diatribes for an imagined or real individual, articulating those all-important attitudes or positions that characters feel towards their given circumstances, towards other characters, or towards themselves trying to sort out their various problems. -The rants that we all conduct in our imaginations, even of all that we never quite bring ourselves to say to someone’s face.  

Most any dramatic story plot hinges upon a premise, events prior to the opening, belonging to "Act Zero". Hence, to build up  dramatic tension,  and for anything to happen in a scene, a situation, a problem with motivation and conflict on every level remains indispensable. And, likewise, character interaction often benefits from the graphing or predefinition of a prior relationship web and history interconnecting the cast of characters, especially handy for spawning diversionary red herrings indispensable as complication for murder mysteries. By contrast, any sheer catalytic intereaction between strangers even upon first meeting, may present a more difficult challenge of insight.

Indeed, unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characters, each from their own unique POV, filtered perceptions and Interpretive Turn, must be concrete with their own unique behaviors and responses including body language, that are consistent with their own perceptible background and outward signs among other aspects, but also good, sufficient, unique and interesting reasons for their actions and decisions, beyond whatever their motivated goals ever put forth (after all, subject to change), any where short of the sheer and blatant self consumption of the anti-hero's journey, not only blatantly and predictably consistent and chronic sins and vices, but real dishonesty, beyond even abiding personal concerns, emotional response, meaningful values and perspective, to be well motivated then to act or react according to the story needs. Otherwise, bad enough, they will be nothing more than card board characters, shallow and interchangeable if not worse, inconsistent and unbelievable. And so, eschew the melodramatic implausible convenience of the the Fairy Tale Empathic Universe. Because, on stage or off, every peripheral character remains central to their own personal story, motivated and independent, and should so behave. Beyond the standard questions, though possibly somewhat superficial, How Well Do You Know Your Characters? Strong narrative voice is crucial to Characterization and Subtle Description of Setting, all together comprising The 3 Most Important Elements of Fiction Writing.  And there are many ways to reveal, demonstrate, including great dialogue key to show and evoke characterization as well as different types and methods thereof.

But not characters bludgeoning the reader with blatant cues how to react, laughing at their own jokes, crying at their own pain, and, over all, generally feeling everything so that the reader no longer has to! Angst does not equal depth. Let the reader have his own emotions.

Motivated characterization consist not of overpowering shmaltzy melodramatic and Bathetic "smarm", of heroes "breast-beating," "chewing the furniture ," just hanging around emoting! Rather, characterization may be brought to the fore, shown in behavior and dialogue, what the character says or thinks, or  does, and by what other characters say about the character and by interaction between characters.

Characters develop out of situation and plot ideas emerge from characters in different situations and the actions undertaken because of their relationships and conflict on every level, the friction entailed as characters come into contact.

Plot derives from the particular reaction, from each their own unique motivations, background and priorities, of characters even to any similar situation, inciting incident or out-of-whack event. Consider, for example, how reaction to finding one's spouse having a drink with a wealthy and well connected business acquaintance might very well differ for an insecure violently jealous ex-con with a bitter personal history of betrayal, a yuppie go-getter clawed up from desperate poverty, a sybaritic wild and horny bisexual or an easy going avid photographer and esthete. -Not to mention how either greater synergy and/or heightened conflict on every level, might arise from any combination thereof...

Misdirection, whether error circumstantially and honestly, by deliberate manipulation or even hamartia and self-deception, is key in moving from promise to catastrophe. And frequently, the self conscious illusion of individual will is only the burden of responsibility in hindsight, an artifact of the personal narrative facilitating growth.

Some say that one becomes addicted to shame when another's heart is closed to one, because, however excruciating, the sheer megalomania of taking the blame protects one from the ugly truth that we really have no control over others and the universe or God. We can't make either love us or, ultimately, even protect those who do. Put more simply, then, and in complete good faith, powerlessness, the impotent helplessness of the human condition is terminally demeaning.

And beyond direct action, our influence upon others may often be even the more misguided and deluded.

Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood or recognized in hindsight. Any character's choice of strategy will be determined not only by their POV, situation or even entirely mechanistic particular involvement in whatever phase of any process considered, but also defined, guided and constrained by values, into somehow or other principled behavior. Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. Hence, Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy. When there arises a discrepancy between the feelings and activity of a character, tension mounts all the more, the greater the obstacles to resolution of whatever ambivalence and conflict.

A common plotline or subplot is the development of a relationship, an alliance necessary to further the main plot. Virtually all relationships of whatever kind begin with some sort of first discovery, romance even courtship, so to speak, even "the honeymoon," but inevitably and come into conflict on every level, friction which is normal and even healthy, and in order to survive must reach acceptance in order to commit to substantive cooperation and collaboration.

Indeed, the foil is a character serving various functions of Contrast and Correspondence to another, particularly a minor character who helps to set off a major character, often the sidekick or even the dual protagonists of buddy pictures, or else as mirror for the related character, likewise, even beyond providing contrast, may even be like unto a sort of reverse image or negative, the very antithesis of the related character, even comic relief to tragedy. But comic relief punctuating drama or tragedy must somehow thematically parallel and develop the action interrupted, or else jarringly undermine the story and thus embarrass and annoy the audience.

themeaningoflife.org provides and handy and detailed overview for plotting character biography and life direction.

Character Analysis: "Given Circumstances" of Situation

Character Portraits: Record The Inner Person

  Fiction Writer's Character Chart

 

 How do writers invent new characters?
                  Where can the basic types of characters, and their roles be found?
                            And how might they most innovatively be put to use? 

A. Just as in a character driven story plot arises to serve the character, the more  plot oriented the story, the more their situation and background, motivation, abilities and resources of the character(s) need to serve that plot. But imperfectly enough to make them interesting and sustain tension, even discomfort and aversion, of Technique of Suspense plotting, anticipation and pathos, by keeping the outcome in doubt, of course! Either way, the logic of deconstruction expands and unfurls consistent story elements and variations out from one another.

 

Creating Memorable Characters

By every Technique of Suspense plotting, the rising tension and of dramatic conflict signifies that the resolution of whatever the central problem is such as to increasingly press character(s) inevitably to take action in struggle with whoever or whatever the antagonist in some way that must one way or another bring the very values of said character(s) into question for them.

The audience must empathize with a somehow at all sympathetic protagonist facing any worthy antagonist, memorable and well dimensioned Villains People Love to Hate, presenting enough of an obstacle to keep the outcome in doubt. Indeed, while an entire plot may be derived superficially enough from a character's motivated goal as ever put forth, instead plotting may emanate the more profoundly from their emotional core, as in a tragedy, hamartia, the error of maladaptation by a character inconveniently mismatched to circumstances or situation (in contrast to the aspect of the hero as more opportunely, appropriately and better equipped, skilled or tempered for whatever challenge at hand), the protagonist's greatest personality flaw or, worse, their greatest virtue, but perhaps in disproportion, leads only to misfortune. For any character's choice of strategy will be determined not only by their POV, situation or even entirely mechanistic particular involvement in whatever phase of any process considered, but also defined, guided and constrained by values, into somehow or other principled behavior. And even the loftiest personal or ideological motivation and most admirable character trait can miss the mark, go astray and awry even upon the proverbial road to Hell that is paved with good intentions, to inspire and then culminate in a cascade of ill considered if not foul deeds outright, tribulation, dissolution, downfall or comeuppance, ruination and disaster. Indeed, even if thankfully in any somewhat less calamitously heroic proportion, ordinary flawed folk may blindly err, and often prove so much their own worst enemies, that their "inner villain" may provide enough of an obstacle all on it's own to sustain tension by Techniques of Suspense plotting, anticipation and pathos, by keeping the outcome in doubt. Such is the stuff of high drama and authentic honest writing beyond just what the author projects of themselves.

Servitude and Freedom, being-or refusing to be-in the service of another, who serves whom and under what conditions, for what purposes and to what effect, defines much of characterization, motivating much of the interaction and hence plotting as well.

In drama, the conflict on every level that is inherent to situation, there are four elements of thirteen possible motivations:
What do characters want, goals as ever put forth and why, what motivates them? And what/who aids or hinders whatever their quest? In dramatizing controversy, good motivated and dramatic dialogue makes it hard to tell who is right and who is wrong. "In a good play, everyone is right." But how far would they go? Or will they change and grow?

“People's level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively the case.”  — Albert Bandura

Just such conflict even beneath the surface TEXT and CONTEXT may, nevertheless, emerge through subtext, What Lurks Beneath, shown by way of each of the senses in setting, body language, action and atmospheric tone along with the Subtle and Delicate Art of Doublespeak dialogue, may either harmonize with text, or in true Method subtext, even disagree with text, subtly, so as to draw attention into a  deeper vein or level of conflict by being subtly wrong, key to show or evoke characterization, wherein motivation should be apparent, even through thoughts, however expository.

Each event in sequence that follows from motivated character action consistent with background, must in turn initiate from observable proximate stimulus unless entirely emerging from inner life, and, either way, rather than simply remaining mysterious, known only the mind of the character, must one way or another be shown intelligibly to the audience, even if none of any other characters; either way, in turn, quite probably another vitally important plot point. Whenever the cause and effect chain ever omits such links, expect plot holes stumbling amid succession of unrelated events.

In motivated action or response, show, don't tell (in exposition), a character. And a dramatic moment of change full of tension from Techniques of Suspense plotting, anticipation and pathos and even aversion, with the outcome in doubt, may make for a surer hook or grabber than just background and build up.

A number of traits and tendencies tend to occur together in a pattern to make up personality, integrity or the lack thereof. These patterns reoccur often and distinctly. Traits and tendencies tend to occur together in familiar patterns. One reason may be that certain traits and tendencies tend to reinforce each other. Another reason may be that patterns of character traits have at their root some common fundamental cause in an individual's makeup.

Beyond shtick, concrete characters are also endowed with unique behaviors and responses including body language, that are consistent with their own perceptible background and outward signs among other aspects in which to delve, as well as subtle sexual identity and disadvantageous quirks.

In working towards a character profile a good place to start may be with well unique and original well rounded and multifaceted Character Creation Do's and Don'ts, Creating Memorable characters and What's in a Name? (Also babynames.com ) and browse the 'Types of Characters' list which comes at the end of the 'Dramatic Structure and Characters' webpage.

Major and minor A, B and C characters are, respectively, the central characters, supporting characters illuminating the story or pressing the central characters to act, and lastly, incidental characters populating the world of the story. 

Begin with types in fiction and the 8 basic parameters. Indeed, there are all manner of personality theories, types and tests to draw upon. Next, for a handy linked compendium of motivating points of view, try redeploying the Six Thinking Hats. Then mix 'n' match. Or try the Nine Enneagram Styles and descriptions, already premixed, and also the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, Myers-Briggs personality profiling for characterization even as corresponding to Tarot or Chinese Astrology.

Then consider Conflict Handling Styles and Corresponding Character Disorders among the various Metaprograms in characterization amongst archetypes of  Methodology, evaluation and purpose. There are people who do the right things for the wrong reasons, often achieving worldly success yet secretly unhappy. Others from the best intentions seem nevertheless doomed to bring about only needless suffering and calamity. And then there are those happy few imbued with prudent conduct from dharma, good and wise causes guiding right action into favorable outcomes. 

Indeed, unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characters of different age groups, more like real people, might even be typed by how they grow differently along the Character Arc, responding to their experiences, even such extremes as those of the story values, by changing or by struggle to resist change, differently.

Another popular, though simplistic and superficial mythological characterization scheme is that of alignment, having entered the genre of Fantasy from RPG, originating, beginning with 'Dungeons & Dragons,' derived from table top war gaming and the growing popularity of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, as mass interests began to shift from actual military history to Epic High Fantasy, leading, in turn, to the innovation of playing single individual warriors in small parties of fighting characters or, actually, originally, single figurines or playing pieces, instead of marching vast simulated armies.

And, ultimately, the aforesaid character alignments are less motivation or even goals ever put forth whatsoever, than utterly esoteric.

To begin with there are the black and white 'Chinese menu' quadrants of good or evil and lawful or unlawful. The hero or a good cop, or one would only hope, are lawful good. And the stylish aristocratic honorable villain is lawful evil. An utter fiend is chaotic evil, a stalwart ethically stringent and morally upright hero is lawful good, while a dashing good hearted rogue, vigilante or an ideologue, pursuing the good by whatever means justified by the ends ("Never let your conscience stop you from doing the right thing"), is chaotic good, also whatever sheer lunatic Quixotic extremes such as the charitable preservation of serial killers and lethal viri as endangered species, or other conceivable however ostensibly well intentioned and loving madness.

But in all of this mindless consistency, between the polar opposites of good or evil, lawful or chaotic, instead of conflict on different levels
, situationally inherent social contradiction, mediation, compromise, paradox, hypocrisy or even sheer apathy, ever giving way to growth, is thought to lie neutrality, specifically, a most bizarre, vague and esoteric concept of neutrality (not to be confused with the tranquil inner harmony pursued of the Zen) the nature of which upon which no one agrees and the aim of which is supposed to be to preserve the vaunted external cosmic balance between the others poles of alignment, or else is simply thought to be utterly amoral and self serving. After all, what sort of goal ever put forth is sheer neutrality, much less motivation? Indeed, are not the hottest circles of Dante's Inferno reserved for those who cultivate neutrality in times of moral crisis?!

In 'Dungeons and Dragons,' behavior under whatever pressures, howsoever inconsistent with character alignment, is said to endanger one/s alignment. So much for drama.

Beyond all such stridently inadequate blatant one dimensional superficiality as of 'Dungeons and Dragons,' misdirection, whether error circumstantially and honestly, by deliberate manipulation or even hamartia and self-deception, is key in moving from promise to catastrophe. As they seek to carry out their agendas, run into conflicts on different levels, fail or succeed, and confront new problems, undergoing positive disintegration, like real people, unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characters will not stay the same, for there are a number of  possible outcomes of crisis and inner conflict, growth differently even proportional to inner conflict.

Strictly speaking, where would Gollum's epic inner struggles in 'Lord of the Rings,' or any other hard choices and dimensioned characterization, ever really figure into the superficial and simplistic picayune detail, thud and blunder of 'Dungeons and Dragons?' The usual reply is that all such is the province of role play, left to the player's own devices and imagination.

Indeed! To this day, RPG either more elegantly provides, or else utterly belabors, structure for game play, leaving the shared essentials of dimensioned fiction and the lessons of real psychological simulation as an after thought. -How people often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. Hence, Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy. The inner journey must match the outer journey, beginning from the Emotional Disturbance that is is internal corollary to it's trigger, the out-of-whack event, or vice versa.

Characters, from the clichéd flat and two dimensional to the better well rounded and multifaceted, unique and original, each from their own unique POV, filtered perceptions and Interpretive Turn, range from the everyman, for the reader to most easily identify with, to the more diverting eccentric. One can fall back upon useful stock characters, indeed A Gallery of recurrent symbolic Archetypes however often Revised. Or, for more of a challenge in deriving dramatic obstacle from hamartia, try the schooled fools.

Then there are still always the stand by Archetypes of Romance including Dangerous Heroes and Soldiers. And leave us not forget the quirky detective and sidekick or other foil! After all, no less than real people, characters are defined not only internally, but by networking, by their relationships and by the nature of their associations and influence.

Also bear in mind, who's voice or POV, filtered perceptions and Interpretive Turn? Picking the Right Viewpoint Character or reader surrogate, is essential, because in some way all narrators, save, perhaps, the authorial spokesperson, remain unreliable, only one among many types of irony bourn by whatever voice in whichever person. Indeed, the premise may be balanced by an opposing or contradictory Counter Premise or Antithesis requiring  it's own persuasive spokesperson, or obstacles character.

The familiar mix'n match archetypes of adventure fiction include the Mage, often introverited or unsociable, even a nerd, perhaps a mighty wizard or technologist, or else an expert, mentor, scholar or other crucial logistical support, even the Senior Systems Analyst or an angst ridden neurotic isolated brooder kvetching, dwelling upon or exuding a mysterious deep dark secret or power! As a foil, there will be the Ingénue, the newbie or "baby", perhaps an aspiring sidekick or disciple, whether or not an actual child, real cute, a Damsel in Distress or otherwise object of pathos, protected by the aggressive combative physical warrior or obligatory feisty chick, unless she's all that, too!

But for at all more complex characters, swap attributes between archetypes. 

And in case of writer's block, Writing flash fiction using bubble diagrams is an application of Mind Mapping to creative writing. For this purpose, the Random Story Starter can be supplemented with the Random Character Maker and Random Character Namer or DADA's Little Baby Namer.

The logic of deconstruction expands and unfurls consistent story elements and variations out from one another:

Character
         INTERACTIONS
                    with Setting, the environment or milieu, can also be crucial on shaping personality or characterization, and may actually be made central in the writing techniques known as world-building.

 

 

Q. How can character driven plot best be cultivated from conflict on many levels, obstacles and worsening complications? 

A. Browse Building Characters Through AdversityPlotting may emanate the more profoundly from the emotional core of characterization. Misdirection, whether error circumstantially and honestly, by deliberate manipulation or even hamartia and self-deception, is key in moving from promise to catastrophe. Frequently, the self conscious illusion of individual will is only the burden of responsibility in hindsight, an artifact of the personal narrative facilitating growth.

Some say that one becomes addicted to shame when another's heart is closed to one, because, however excruciating, the sheer megalomania of taking the blame protects one from the ugly truth that we really have no control over others and the universe or God. We can't make either love us or, ultimately, even protect those who do. Put more simply, then, and in complete good faith, powerlessness, the impotent helplessness of the human condition is terminally demeaning.

And beyond direct action, our influence upon others may often be even the more misguided and deluded.

Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood or recognized in hindsight. Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually.

Hence, Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy. The inner journey must match the outer journey, beginning from the Emotional Disturbance that is is internal corollary to it's trigger, the out-of-whack event, or vice versa. Or, for more of a challenge in deriving dramatic obstacle from hamartia, take on the schooled fools.

Being naturally construed in terms of what they are likely to do, characters may also be derived from their function in the plot as they are introduced  and reintroduced. And by the logic of deconstruction, consistent story elements and variations expand and unfurl out from one another. In the rewrites, details reexamined serve as clues to a more rounded story.

 

Q. What are The Fundamentals of Fiction Writing ?

A. CLICK HERE

 

Q. Where is to be found the deeper meaning in fiction?

A. Such depth is there to be plumbed and discovered
                                              in sophisticated Literary thematic subtext...
                                              

Q. What about pacing and style? 

A. Click HERE! I know you might not want to! 
        But isn't the suspense just killing you?

Not just punctuation and clear presentation, but various extensive and dynamic "show don't tell", 'voice' and Point of View techniques, tips and pointers...

 All that is key  to
               fundamentals delivered via
                                 Writing Great Dialogue

 

Overview / brainstorming.

 

 

Q. What is the speculative element crucial and unique defining Science Fiction that may even challenge or even violate, outright, so many of the writing values, maxims and priorities traditionally central fiction writing?

A. CLICK HERE 

Q. Is there any recommended linked resource offering pointers on good Science Fiction writing technique?  

A. Browse Constructing an SF Universe

 

Q. What is all this STAR TREK crap? 

A. There is nothing wrong with 'Star Trek' except bad writing, and seldom ever anything right with 'Star Trek' that does not begin with good writing. Same as with anything else... 

So, why fanfic? Because Television provides a convenient modern folklore familiar to all. 

 

Q. But what if I ever hope to be published?

A. Obviously, fanfic is in all likelihood, inherently unpublishable, given whatever issues of prior intellectual property. Because the publication of fanfic is only ever tolerated in whatever limited exposure and amateur context.

And so, going beyond whatever pure calling or sheer amusement and edification of fiction writing just for it's own sake, and given any motivating goal ever put forth of professional publication, fanfic can ultimately be no more than a brainstorming point of departure, purely an exercise to ultimately feed into all new projects concurrently or later on that will be unencumbered by bothersome restrictions upon prior intellectual property.

And, indeed, a selection of all new concepts are already also to be found included along with the fanfic in the collaborative fiction brainstorming open projects menu.

 

Join right in brainstorming an original fanfic spinoff!
Q. What distinguishes the Star Trek: The Ship of Fools format in particular, from other STAR TREK series, in any media, fanfic included?
A. Star Trek: The Ship of Fools in particular, from other STAR TREK series, in any media, fanfic included?

Beginning with the outline for introductory six part mini-series also serving as series "bible" for Star Trek: The Ship of Fool, no effort has been spared by glossing over that which is merely perfunctory and dull. Nothing should be included unless it is interesting, provocative or dramatic. To provide new and colorful motivated and even unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characters, and to speculatively advance the ramifications, or at least take over the top rather than simply rehash or further trivialize, the most appealing STAR TREK tropes. 

And that  Star Trek: The Ship of Fools outlines and drafts are truly unfinished, with much to be added and changed, rich with points of creative departure for anyone to join right in a real ongoing online writer's bull session. Not just dullardly anal formulaic filling in of the blanks with the obvious simply for the sake of completion in immersive detail, even however arbitrarily.

Q. Why the title? 

A. The Ship of Fools, sacred fools, is a classical allegory of the human condition, blind and impulsive in hopes of salvation. And Star Trek: The Ship of Fools is a tale of encounter with the unknown from Rashuman-like multiple perspective, and corresponding dramatic conflict on many levels from clashing motivation

Hieronymus Bosch Annotated schooled fools yellowdog

 

 

 

Copyright 2001 - 2016 by Aaron Agassi