Understanding Motivation – The Story Grid #Review, Post 4

story gridI’m reading The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne and blogging about parts of it as I go along. This is my fourth post.

Understanding External and Internal Motivation

Driven characters are at the heart of good  stories. Many craft books talk about the importance of motivation and conflict, but I particularly like the way Coyne explains it:

“There is the external quest for a conscious object of desire like justice or survival or companionship or a prize of some sort like the rave review or victory. Then there is the internal quest, the one the lead character doesn’t know he is in need of until a critical moment in the telling. The interplay of these two quests for objects of desire is what provides a narrative drive on the one hand (external) and insight into the human condition on the other (the internal). (Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid, p. 101)

When I read these lines an exceedingly dim light in my brain grew brighter. I had been trying for five years to show the main character’s internal conflict from the very beginning and it wasn’t working. My characters often sounded “cheesy” to me, not quite normal as they contemplated their inner turmoil. I mean really, who thinks about their own internal conflict in detail all the time. You’d go bat-poop crazy if you did. Now I get it. The internal motivation can be hinted at and made obvious only once, or maybe not at all. It’s there, and the reader get’s it, but it’s  not explicitly stated. Holy-tomoly, that is an eye-opener for me.

I’m only writing about highlights of the Shawn Coyne’s book, as it is filled with information and must be read to be fully appreciated. I hope that my notes are helpful and that some of my readers may choose to read the book on their own.

Other Posts on The Story Grid

Narrative Velocity – Starting The Story Grid

Form Over Formula in Story Writing – The Story Grid Review, Post 2

The Power of Genre, Post 3

I’ve read to page 169 (of 334). I think the fifth post will be about why Shawn Coyne thinks the Thriller is the story of choice in North America right now.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

About Jo-Ann Carson Where magic happens … Reports of Jo-Ann Carson’s death on a Gulf Island are greatly exaggerated or, at the very least, premature. The eclectic crew of ghosts that haunt her head spill onto the page in two series: The Gambling Ghosts and The Ghost & Abby Mysteries. A Viking with existential issues, a broken hearted Highlander, a Casanova man-witch and a Pirate with a secret are just a few of the males her strong heroines encounter in tales of fantasy, adventure and romance. A firm believer in the magic of our everyday lives, Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, walking beaches near her home in the Pacific Northwest and reading by the fire. You can visit her on social media: Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.