What Is Your Character Hiding?

I’m delighted to have DiAnn Mills guest blogging on my site today. Her newest novel, Double Cross, releases April 1st! Keep reading for a chance to win a copy. DiAnn, take it away!

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You’re an excellent writer. You’ve spent hours developing your character, but something’s missing. Frustration is eating a hole into your creativity because your character is too proud to admit he might not be perfect.

You have:

  • Researched your character’s personality.
  • Interviewed him and asked tough questions.
  • Developed a unique voice and dialogue.
  • Established a setting that promises to spin the story into a whirlwind of action.

But the character is guarding his weaknesses and flaws. He won’t divulge one moment of backstory, and you’re helpless to discover his motivation for any behavior.

It’s time to hit the psychology books. After all, this closed-mouth character may be the best one you’ve ever created.

greed1Flaws and weaknesses in human nature stem back to creation. God created us with three needs: relationships, significance, and security. Those needs are supposed to be satisfied by Him. But Adam and Eve kicked off their own program of relying on God. The question is how does your character fulfill his basic needs that don’t factor God into the equation?

The following is a list of those weaknesses that your character may use to fill the empty spots in his life. Where does your character fit?

  • Money
  • Power
  • Sex
  • Material acquisition
  • Work, relationships, education, and aesthetic values

Your character uses his weaknesses to satisfy unmet needs. Characters have unmet needs that fall into these categories.

  • Survival – the need to have continued existence
  • Security – the need for emotional and economic stability
  • Sex – the need for intimacy
  • Significance – the need to amount to something and be worthwhile
  • Self-fulfillment – the need to achieve goals
  • Selfhood – the need for a sense of identity

greed2

Once the writer is able to discover weaknesses and unmet needs, then motivation slips into an issue of backstory. Human motives have been categorized into four areas, and these areas extend into each one.

  • Biological
  • Social
  • Cognitive
  • Spiritual

So take a look at that stubborn character. What is his basic need? Is it relationships, significance, or security? Or a combination? What does he use as a Band-Aid to cover up what’s lacking in his life? What category does his unmet need slide into? Now what motivates your character into action?

 

Double Cross

For an opportunity to win a free copy of Double Cross, the second book in the FBI: Houston series, leave a comment as to what motivates you into action. A random drawing will take place one week after the blog appears. Your choice of an e-copy or personalized soft cover.

 

 

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DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at http://www.diannmills.com.

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  5 comments for “What Is Your Character Hiding?

  1. diannmills
    March 30, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Thank you! It looks wonderful.

    DiAnn >

  2. March 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    My motivation was formed as a preschooler. I have seen it’s affects even now- I am 53. I know of it’s affects from the stories told by my older siblings. I need to be valued. I don’t know if it was in the womb, I first knew that I was an unwelcome surprise. But as a preschooler I tried to make my family happy I was born by entertaining the 11 year-old sister, 14 year-old brother and older parents. I worked to be helpful and not a burden my whole life. My tombstone should reflect the words in my report cards- “She tries hard”.

    • diannmills
      March 30, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Jayna, I believe our security is in how God loves us – unconditionally. If I didn’t remind myself of this, I’d crumble.

  3. Brenda
    April 2, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    My motivation comes from how I was brought up and my Christian faith. I firstly want to please and honour God but I find that it is through his servants that I gain the motivation needed for certain actions.

  4. April 6, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Brenda is the winner!!! Brenda, let DiAnn know if you prefer an e-book or personalized soft cover.

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