Have you considered your characters motivations? Yes, of course you have! All characters will have their own motivation and needs, right?
But have you done it using McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory?
According to McClelland, there are three dominant motivators for people:
Achievement-oriented characters are goal-oriented. Seeking things that challenge them, they take calculated risks to accomplish those goals. They can also be the type who want to be good at what they do, so they might not do things they’re not good at. These people often like to work alone and they like feedback and recognition for what they DO.
Affiliation-oriented characters want to belong, to be liked (or loved) and will often go along with others in order to fit in. They favor collaboration over competition, and they don’t like risks or uncertainty. They may like to be recognized for being likable or good people and may avoid conflict.
Power-oriented characters want to control and influence others. They like to win arguments (or battles), and they enjoy competition. They seek status, recognition, and glory.
This can be for the betterment of the group (like the manager who leads a team to meet sales goals, or a hero who leads an army to defeat the enemy). Power-oriented characters can also be bad guys who want to control others (to feel safe, and powerful), who want to make people follow their own agenda (like leading an evil army), or who want to be the one make someone else pay–to bring their own sense of justice (like a vigilante).
I found a great article online about human motivation theory in the workplace, but it’s easy to tailor this to your characters to give them motivation as well. Not only is it helping me to understand and design my characters better. It’s also helping me to understand my coworkers better.
How about you? How do you figure out your characters’ motivations?