Monday, January 15, 2007

Uh, what's my motivation?

Mes amis

One of the interesting things that redrafting any work of fiction does is throw into sharp relief the flaws and inadequacies of your own writing and of your own understanding of it all, as well. Don't think of this as a bad thing.

One of the problems that has come up in discussions over a recent project has ben the shifting motivations of characters between drafts. What can seem like a crystal clear motivation in one draft can then become unclear in the next. Because you've shifted everything around. Changed the focus. Fucked with your cast's heads.

This evening I was asked by the world's sharpest editor (and greatest agent), "So tell me, why does character X do action Y?*" and suddenly I found myself lost for an answer. Because I couldn't remember which draft I was working with. Because I had been so concerned with other character's psychologies that suddenly this guy in particular was lost to me.

Because I realised I hadn't been paying attention.

I found the motivation of course, came up with a plan for making it clearer, but for those few moments where I was lost in a sea of timewasting phrases, searching for an answer that sounded reasonable... I was scared. Because its so easy to let one loose thread unravel a story. Let one thing go, watch the world collapse.

But so far things are holding together. And we're working to make sure they stay that way.

In the meantime, I'm having a chat with the cast and asking all of them, "what's your motivation, again?"

Au revoir

Russel

1 comment:

Gary Smith said...

Strange, I always thought your motivation was beer...