About Writing

Motivating Your Characters: Emotions

I’m loving how inspirational Daily Post can be at times and this is something I have been meaning to write for some time: your characters and their emotions. So, as my gladiators delve deeper into their mission and their back stories become demons in their present, it has made me realise that their emotional reactions are going to be indicative of how the story will pan out. Emotions drive us as humans. For our characters, they need to be the primary driving force or they will come across as little more than empty vessels for transporting dialogue.

Sword of Anger. I’ve no idea what it is, but it seems apt Source: wikimedia.

Though I have still to thrash out some of the finer points of some of the characters, I have some clear ideas of what will motivate most of them and what primary emotional reaction each will display when crunch time comes and it isn’t always going to be what we come to expect based on experiences since the beginning of the book.

Nero is the perfect example of this. I have only hinted that his short temper and aggression is motivated by something much deeper happening to him – I am still not going to reveal it here but his angry nature will have the reader in the beginning come to view him as the loose cannon. He is angry most of the time, but anger is not always a negative thing and can be the sign of some much deeper problem.

The others are far less open with their emotions. As already demonstrated:

  • Valens fancies himself as a ladies man but this is to cover up a deep hurt he feels for the only woman he ever loved
  • Methodius comes across as guarded yet he lives with a fear that I have yet to reveal
  • Joseph contains his anger – but what is his true nature? (I have yet to decide but as a Jew, if you know anything about 1st century history you could take a good guess)
  • Saturninus comes across as no-nonsense yet I am still developing him and have yet to figure out his true motivations merely beyond wishing to save his ailing gladiator school
  • Seneca will be the most intriguing for me. I have revealed a number of hints about his character but have yet to flesh out his finer points. He likes to think of himself as stoic and controlled, a good Roman and possibly come from an ancient noble yet fallen family line. He is not as controlled as he likes to portray

I still have some fleshing out to do but as you can see with the three that do have a complete or near-complete story, their emotions are going to play a big part in the mission.

Over to you! I’d like to hear about some of your favourite characters that you’ve created and what emotions drive them.


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