character motive

Thinking About Character Motivations

Whether it’s about why a character would commit murder or why someone would want a do-over in life, I get a lot of questions about character motivations. This is a very important question to ask yourself to develop a believable character because for every action and decision that is made there is some sort of motivation. You eat because you’re hungry, you sleep because you’re tired, you plot to take over the country because the current government killed your sister and framed it on you to further their political agenda. Or maybe you eat because nobody can turn down the deliciousness that is mint chocolate ice cream, you sleep because you’ve got a ridiculous migraine from all the ice cream, and you plot to take over the world because you plan to outlaw eating mint chocolate chip ice cream to have it all for yourself. No matter what the motive is the important thing is that the character has one. To help you come up with one for whatever insanity you’re planning (the scenarios I’ve seen from all of you make me equally proud and baffled) I’ve come up with a few points to consider to get your thinking gears moving.

1.     Consider how it relates to the main plot and subplot(s).  

Going back to taking over the country, there are millions of ways this story could unfold. What differentiates each and what makes it interesting is why the character wants to do this. Martin Scorsese once said “The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then queen died of grief is a plot.” This is the way a character’s motive works: your story tells the reader what happens but the why and how is always more interesting. So ask yourself what kind of impact you want this motive to have on the plot because it is what will drive everything. When a character doesn’t have a motivation (like a villain who is evil because) there is no direction and no intrigue in the events as they unfold.

2.     Is it out of fear or desire?

To put it very simply, character motivation is fueled by either fear or desire (or maybe both). You could eat because you saw someone else eating cake and now you really crave some too, or you could eat because you fear dying of hunger. There are always primal fears and desires like the desire for survival, companionship and happiness and a fear of death and pain. These are great and can often come up but also try to personalize them to your character so the reader feels why it is important to them. Once you having something fueling the motivation it becomes much more real and gives you a better idea of how to use it.

3.     Make it fit with the genre.

Along with personalizing to the character, it’s good to keep in mind the tropes of the genre (remember tropes are not the same as clichés). In a romance the reader expects one of the motivations to be love, in a thriller it’s often about a fight for personal survival and/or to save someone or something. The reason this is important is because it would be odd for a character’s main motivation in a story about saving the country from foreign invasion to be becoming a pianist. Unless, of course the story is really about a young talent who loses their chance to travel to a music school because of war, but now the plot has changed, hasn’t it? There can be multiple motivations, especially when you cross genres like a YA adventure, or thriller with a romance but just remember that readers who give your work a try have certain expectations based on the genre so either try to match or rethink the genre you’re really writing.

4.     External and internal motivations.

External motivations are ones that are imposed on your character by external forces while internal motivations come from within themselves (personal desires). For example, take a police officer tasked with finding a kidnapped victim. They have the external motivation of solving this case because it is their job and failing at it would be failing their assignment and leaving a life in peril. They could also have many other personal motivations driving them like having lost their best friend to trafficking or something completely unrelated, like they are motivated to make their little kid proud. You can also try to make these motivations specific to differentiate from characters, at least in your own mind so you can weave that into the characters. External motivations can push the character into the plot but the internal ones can keep them going when things get tough and make readers truly sympathize with them.

5.     Finally, do your homework.

No matter how many tips you read here or anywhere else, none of it is going to matter if you don’t sit down and work out your character’s motivations to fit them and your plot. If you need motivations for something that you might not be familiar with (eg. why someone would commit a specific crime) or you need more information about the topic…RESEARCH! Remember, remember, remember that there are no cutting corners when it comes to writing so take a seat, let your mind explore the possibilities, and get to work.

Good luck!!

Originally posted by just-usmadd

anonymous asked:

Hey, you're awesome, thanks for existing, basically ^_^ Anyway, I wanted to know if you have any tips on how to write different personalities? My characters (all of them) always end up with the same default personality that I fall back on. Thanks!

Thanks for your question, darling!  I think most of us have struggled with this – after all, we’re conditioned to one way of thinking, feeling, and acting for as long as we live.  That doesn’t necessarily mean we write characters like ourselves, though.  In fact, many of us have a “default character” that’s sassier than we are, sweeter than we are, or in some way different enough from us that we still feel like we’re writing a character.

The problem, then, isn’t that we can’t visualize a different personality than ours.  On the whole, we can.  What we’re missing are the small details that make it feel whole – otherwise, it’s like painting the same room six different colors and trying to pass it off as six different rooms.  Different dominant traits can’t hide the fact that you’re working with one template!

So the question we’re left with: what are the traits we’re missing?  And how can we change them to create a unique and whole personality?


Three Types of Character Traits

There are, as the title suggests, three major categories of personality traits as I see it: fundamental traits, acquired traits, and detrimental traits.  A well-rounded character needs some of each to be three-dimensional and realistic.

Fundamental Traits

The fundamental traits of a person’s character are not as simple as interests and preferences; they are the very base of all decisions and desires.  They are either learned in early life or developed over a long period of time, rooting deeply into the personality.  A few examples of fundamental personality traits include:

  • Upbringing – The word choice here is conscious, as upbringing encompasses many different aspects of a person’s development.  Consider who raised them, and with what morals and practices they were raised to adulthood.  Consider their influences, both familial, social, and in media; consider the relationships that were normalized during their development, as well as the living conditions (financially, emotionally, environmentally, etc.).  The people, places, emotions, and conflicts made common during a person’s developmental period are essential to their personality in adulthood.  This is why psychologists often draw present-day problems back to a person’s childhood memories – because those formative years can subconsciously dictate so much of a person’s future!
  • Values – These may not coincide with the values a person is raised to hold, but upbringing certainly has an influence on this. A person’s values will direct the course of their life through every decision, large and small.  You don’t need to outline everything your character believes is important – every moral and every law they agree/disagree with. But those values which stand above others will give your character purpose.  A few of my favorite examples are: Jane from Jane the Virgin (whose initial storyline is heavily based on her religion and desire for a beautiful love story, as well as her childhood influences who inspired these values) and Han Solo from Star Wars (whose character development rested upon his values shifting from money and gratification to more honorable things).
  • Beliefs – Different from values, beliefs are a more general set of guidelines for how a person believes things are supposed to be.  Beliefs can also be a source of great conflict, as a character tries to stay aligned with their beliefs despite other values or desires.  These beliefs can be established systems, like religion or politics; they can also include more personal belief systems, like nihilism or veganism.  A characters beliefs, like their values, can change over the course of the story – but even if a character is questioning one system of belief, like religion or pacifism, they should have other belief systems in place to govern some of their activity.
  • Reputation – A lot of human activity, whether consciously or not, is dictated by how others perceive them (or how they believe others perceive them).  There are two types of reputation: personal and passing.  For instance, a woman named Sally who gains a personal reputation of sleeping around will behave in reaction to this reputation – either sleeping around because everyone already expects it of her, or specifically not hooking up because she wants to shake this reputation, or developing a thicker skin to deal with the rumors until it passes.  A man named Billy who, because of his tattoos, bears a passing reputation as an intimidating man will either try to soften his demeanor with strangers, own up to the image, or at least learn to expect judgment from strangers as a consequence.
  • Self-Image – Also relevant to a person’s behavior is the way they perceive themselves, which can often have little to do with their reputation.  A lot of self-image is based on definitive moments or phases in the past.  For instance: for several years after I started wearing contacts and cutting my hair, I still saw myself, in dreams at night, with long hair and glasses.  One of my friends, similarly, could not seem to notice when boys would flirt with her during sophomore year – because she still saw herself as an awkward middle schooler with braces, and not as the charming cheerleader with the great smile.
    Inversely, self-image can be inflated, causing character to behave as though they are funnier, smarter, or more prepared than they truly are (see: the rest of my sophomore acquaintances).  This can be an overlooked character flaw opportunity – or flawportunity…

Originally posted by alliefallie


Acquired Traits

Now we move on to the acquired traits of personality, which are the ones you’re more likely to find on a character sheet or a list of “10 Questions for Character Development”, alongside a million other things like their zodiac sign and their spirit animal.  But the traits I’m about to outline are a little more relevant to a character’s behavior, and more importantly, how to make this behavior unique from other characters’ behavior.  The following traits will be learned by your characters throughout their life (and their story), and are more likely to shift and grow with time:

  • Interests – I know, I had to reach deep down into my soul to think of this one.  But it’s true!  Interests, both in childhood/adolescence and in adulthood, are an important part of a character’s personality and lifestyle.  Childhood interests both reveal something about the character (for instance: my nephew loves trains, Legos, and building, suggesting a future interest in construction or engineering) and create values that can last for a lifetime.  Current interests affect career choice, social circles, and daily activity for everyone.  Forgotten or rejected interests can be the source of pet peeves, fears, or bad memories. There’s a reason I’ll never play with Polly Pockets again, and it 100% has to do with bloody fingertips and a purse that wouldn’t open.
  • Sense of Humor – This can be a little hard to define, understandably.  If you were to ask me what my sense of humor is, I’d probably start with a few stupid memes, pass by Drake & Josh on the way, and somehow wind up telling you bad puns or quoting Chelsea Peretti’s standup comedy. A person’s sense of humor can be complex and contradictory!  Sometimes we just laugh at stuff because someone said it in a funny way.  But anyway, to help you boil this down to something useful: take a look at a few kinds of comedy and relate it to your character’s maturity level.  Do they laugh when someone lets out a toot?  Are they the kind of person to mutter, “That’s what she said,” or simply try not to laugh when something sounds dirty?  Can puns make them crack a smile?  Do they like political humor?  Do cat videos kill them?  Is their humor particularly dark?  Can the mere sound of someone else laughing make them laugh?  Figure out where your character’s sense of humor is, and you’ll feel closer to them already.
  • Pet Peeves – For every interest a person may have, and everything that makes them laugh, there’s something else that can piss them off, large- or small-scale.  Are they finnicky about their living space and neatness? Do they require a lot of privacy? Do certain sounds or behaviors drive them crazy?  What qualities are intolerable in a romantic interest for them? What kind of comments or beliefs make them roll their eyes?  If you need help, just try imagining their worst enemy – someone whose every word or action elicits the best eye-rolls and sarcastic remarks and even a middle finger or two – and ask yourself, what about this person makes them that mortal enemy?  What behaviors or standards make them despicable to your character?  That’s all it takes.
  • Skills – Everybody has them, and they’re not just something we’re born with.  Skills can be natural talent, sure, but they’re also cultivated from time, values, and interests.  What is your character okay at?  What are they good at?  What are they fantastic at?  Maybe they can cook.  Maybe they have a beautiful eye for colors.  Maybe they have an inherent sense of right and wrong that others admire. Maybe they’re super-athletic or incredibly patient or sharp as a tack or sweet as a cupcake.  Maybe they know how to juggle, or maybe they’re secretly the most likely of all their friends to survive a zombie apocalypse.  Where do they shine?  What would make someone look at them and think, “Wow, I wish I were them right now”?
  • Desires – A good way to “separate” one character from the next is to define what it is they want, and then use every other detail to dictate how they pursue that goal.  Every real person has a desire, whether they’ve defined it or not – whether it’s something huge, like fame or a family of five with triplet girls and a beach house on an island, or something small, like good grades for the semester.  These desires can cause a person to revise their values or forsake their morals; and these desires can conflict with other people’s desires, influencing how people interact with each other.  Remember that every character is living their own story, even if it’s not the story you’re telling.
  • Communication Style – A majorly overlooked character trait in pop fiction is unique communication styles.  Having every character feel comfortable arguing, or bursting out with the words, “I love you,” is unrealistic.  Having every character feel paralyzed at the idea of confronting a bully or being honest to their spouse is also unrealistic.  There should be a healthy mix of communicators in a group of characters. Some people are too softspoken to mouth off at their racist lab partner.  Some people wouldn’t see their girlfriend kissing another guy and just walk away without saying something.  Some people just don’t react to conflict by raising their voice; some people enjoy sharing their opinions or giving the correct answer in class.  Boldness, social skills, and emotional health all have a part to play in how people communicate their thoughts – so keep this in mind to create a more realistic, consistent character.
  • Emotional Expression – Along the same lines but not the same, emotional expression is more focal on feelings than thoughts.  If you’ve ever heard of the fight-or-flight response, the different types of anger, the stages of grief, or the five love languages, then you’re aware of different “classifications” of emotional expression and management.  Read up on some of those things, and think about how your character handles emotions like happiness, sadness, fear, anger, loneliness, paranoia, and so forth.

Detrimental Traits

While acquired traits are certainly more enjoyable to brainstorm during the creation process, detrimental traits are as important – or even more important – to the character’s wholeness as well as their role in the story.  Not only do these negative or limiting traits make your character realistic, relatable, and conflicted – they create a need for other characters and their strengths to move the plot forward.  A few examples of detrimental traits include:

  • Flaws – Character flaws are probably the first thing that came to your mind while reading this, but they’re the essence of the category.  Flaws in a character’s personality, morality, or behavior can be a source of character development; they set an individual on their own path and provide a unique motivation for them.  Having Character A struggle with sobriety while Character B learns to be a more patient mother can do a lot to separate their stories and personalities from each other.  Even if certain flaws don’t reach a point of growth, they create a third aspect to personality and force us, as writers, to be more creative with how our characters get from Point A to Point B, and what they screw up along the way.
  • Fears – Everyone has fears, whether we’re conscious of them or not – and I’m not talking about phobias or “things that give you shivers”.  Just like everyone has a primary motivation throughout life (romance, family, success, meaning, peace of mind, etc.), everyone has a fear behind that motivation (loneliness, failure, emptiness, anxiety).  We all have something we don’t want to happen places we never want to be and things we never want to do.  We’ve all been in situations that mildly bothered others but wildly affected us at the same time.  For me, it’s a lack of autonomy, or in any way being forced to do something or be somewhere against my will.
    What does this mean for me?  It means that when other people have nightmares about being chased by an axe murderer, I have nightmares about being kidnapped and locked up.  It means that I’m continually aware of my “escape plan” if something goes wrong in my living situation, and I’m hypersensitive to someone telling me, “You have to do this.”  It means I struggle to follow rules and usually don’t get along with authority figures because I have to assert my independence to them.  It’s irrational and continual and doesn’t just affect me in one situation; it subconsciously directs my steps if I let it.  That’s how real, guttural fears work. Phobias are only skin deep, and they don’t make you feel any closer to the character.

Originally posted by giantmonster

  • Secrets – Even goody two-shoes Amber from the swim team, with her blonde blonde hair and her good good grades, has a secret.  Everybody does, even if it’s not a purposeful, “I have a deep, dark secret,” sort of secret. We have things we don’t tell people, just because they’re embarrassing, or painful, or too deep to get into, or they don’t paint us in a good light.  While the secrets themselves tell a lot about a person, so do the reasons a person keeps a secret.  Hiding something out of shame suggests a person is prideful, or critical of themselves, or holds themselves to a higher standard than they hold others.  Hiding something painful suggests that the person struggles to handle sadness or regret, or that they feel uncomfortable showing raw emotion in front of loved ones. And so on and so forth.
  • Conflict – Whether internal, interpersonal, legal, moral, societal, or what have you, conflict will limit your character’s actions at every turn.  A story is nothing without conflict driving the plot in different directions and causing your character to rethink both their plans and their lifestyle.  Without Katniss’s moral conflict over killing other tributes, The Hunger Games would be the story of a girl who entered an arena, killed a lot of people, and lived the rest of her life rich and comfortable.  If Luke Skywalker didn’t have interpersonal conflict with Darth Vader, Star Wars would be the war-story of a guy who joined a rebellion and then… yeah.
  • Health – Physical, mental, and emotional health is a huge limiting factor for characters that often goes untouched, but it’s valuable nonetheless.  Not everyone has a clean bill of health and can jump off trains without pulling a muscle, go through a traumatic life experience without any hint of depression or anxiety, or watch a loved one die in gunfire and shove right on without emotional repercussions. Consider creating a character who’s not perfect – who isn’t perfectly in-shape or abled, or neurotypical or stable day-to-day, or completely clean and clear of residual heartache, unhealthy relationships, or bad emotional habits.  Don’t define them by these traits, of course – but don’t feel that you can’t write a character with health issues without writing a “sick character.”

So this post got ridiculously long, but I hope it works as a reference for you when creating unique characters.  Remember that you don’t need to outline all of this information to create an individual, realistic character.  These are just some relevant ideas to get you started!  It’s up to you, as the writer, to decide what’s necessary and what’s excessive for your creative process.

Still, I hope a majority of this is helpful to you!  If you have any more questions, be sure to send them in and we’ll get back to you :)  Good luck!

- Mod Joanna ♥️


If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask us!

High Payoff Scenes.

If that scene you meant to be emotional, jaw-dropping and climactic isn’t working right, try taking a step back. 

All the usual aspects of a good scene also apply to the buildup toward a good scene. As well as including all these aspects into the scene itself, remember that at the point where your awe inspiring scene hits…

  • The reader should already feel deep, ‘positive’ emotions for the characters involved, whether that be love, intrigue, or an I love to hate them feeling.
  • The reader should already understand and have witnessed the characters struggling in some way with the goals they are working towards during that scene.
  • The reader should already have a clear picture of the character’s relationships and emotions, and understand which direction they are moving.
  • The reader should already be well-based in the plot and have a good understanding of every piece of information they need order to be fully immersed in the scene. 
  • The reader should already have a clear picture of the current stakes and playing field, so they can decide what outcome to root for. (Or in some cases, they can feel the same desperation the pov character has as they realize there are no good outcomes.)

Most importantly, remember that there are no perfect first drafts, and barely any half-decent second, third, or fourth drafts either. If you need to rewrite and rewrite a few times over, that’s okay. 

Just because the amazing scene in your head seems to fall short once it’s written, doesn’t mean all its amazingness isn’t still buried in there somewhere.

anonymous asked:

What sort of questions should I be asking my beta readers?

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR BETA READERS:

When I send out my chapter to be read over by my beta readers, I always include a set of questions typed out at the bottom, grouped into different categories such as: plot, pacing, character, setting, etc. 

You might want to tailor the questions depending on the genre or which chapter it is. For example, if it’s the first chapter you’ll want to ask them about how well your story managed to hook them, or if they managed to easily get an idea of the world you’ve introduced them to. If it’s the climax you might want to ask if the action scenes are fluid, and if the plot twist/s were predictable or surprising. 

Here’s some example questions that you could use:

Opening Chapter:

  • What is your first impression of the main character? Do you find them likable? Annoying? Boring?
  • After reading it for the first time, what is your first impression? Was it cohesive and compelling? Boring and confusing?
  • Did the first sentence/paragraph/page efficiently grab your attention and hook you in?
  • If you were to read this chapter in a bookstore/library would you be convinced to buy it? Or would you need to read further before deciding? Why or why not?
  • Did you get oriented fairly quickly at the beginning as to whose story it is, what’s going on, and where and when it’s taking place? If not, what were you confused about at the beginning?
  • Does the first chapter establish the main character efficiently? Do they feel believable?

Characters:

  • Could you clearly imagine what the characters looked like? If not, who?
  • Who was your favourite character and why? Has your favourite character changed? (if this hasn’t changed feel free to skip this question) 
  • Are there any characters that you do not like? Why do you not like them? (Boring, annoying, problematic, etc.) 
  • Was there ever a moment when you found yourself annoyed or frustrated by a character? 
  • Could you relate to the main character? Did you empathise with their motivation or find yourself indifferent? 
  • Were the characters goals/motivations clear and understandable? 
  • Did you get confused about who’s who? Are there too many characters to keep track of? Are any of the names or characters too similar?
  • Do the characters feel three-dimensional or like cardboard cutouts? 
  • How familiar have you become with the main characters? Without cheating could you name the four main characters? Can you remember their appearance? Can you remember their goal or motivation? 

Dialogue:

  • Did the dialogue seem natural to you?
  • Was there ever a moment where you didn’t know who was talking?

Setting/world-building:

  • Were you able to visualize where and when the story is taking place?
  • Is the setting realistic and believable? 
  • How well do you remember the setting? Without cheating, can you name four important settings?

Genre:

  • Did anything about the story seem cliche or tired to you? How so? 
  • Did anything you read (character, setting, etc.) remind you of any others works? (Books, movies, etc.) 

Plot/pacing/scenes:

  • Do you feel there were any unnecessary scenes/moments that deserved to be deleted or cut back?
  • Do the scenes flow naturally and comprehensively at an appropriate pace? Did you ever feel like they were jumping around the place? 
  • Was there ever a moment where you attention started to lag, or the chapter begun to drag? Particular paragraph numbers would be very helpful. 
  • Did you ever come across a sentence that took you out of the moment, or you had to reread to understand fully? 
  • Was the writing style fluid and easy to read? Stilted? Purple prose-y? Awkward?
  • Did you notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies in facts, places, character details, plot, etc.?

Additional questions:

  • What three things did you like? What three things did you not like? 
  • Can you try predicting any upcoming plot twists or outcomes? 
  • Was there ever a moment when your suspension of disbelief was tested? 
  • Is there anything you’d personally change about the story? 
  • Was the twist expected or surprising? Do you feel that the foreshadowing was almost nonexistent, or heavy handed? 

Feel free to tailor these to your needs or ignore some of them if you don’t think they’re useful. Basically, your questions are about finding out the information about how others perceive your own writing and how you can improve your story.

Have a question you want answered? 

You know what I’m excited about?

Pauline is a super important character in Nintendo’s history. Though the story of Donkey Kong doesn’t seem like much today, the idea of an arcade game having characters with motivation and personality was incredibly novel at the time. Pauline represented a character struggle for Jumpman, and was a key part of the game’s appeal. However, ever since she got the short end of the stick. She started as a damsel in distress. She got replaced by Princess Peach. Her appearances were reduced to spin-offs, and not even the cast-oriented ones like Mario Party or Mario Kart. She was more of a weird historical figure than an active member of the Super Mario cast. But now?

Here she is. The Mayor of New Donk City, as influential as she is glamorous. Pauline’s office totally recontextualizes her absence from the main series. While Mario has been playing hero in the field, fighting for the Mushroom Kingdom and Princess Peach, Pauline has been doing it through legislation, making New Donk City better and improving the lives of potentially millions of people. Pauline’s not a princess, but she does lead. She’s just as much a hero as her Jumpman.

Tips from a YA Editor by Anne Regan: Five Tips for Character Development
  • Know where they’re coming from.
    • A character profile can help define influences, values, motivation.
    • Background history shapes the character’s present and future actions.
    • Three-dimensional characters have both strengths and flaws.
    • What is the character’s core problem or desire?
  • Get readers to care about the character.
    • Show them struggling with issues and tough choices readers can relate to.
    • Show the effect their actions (positive or negative) have on the character.
  • What is the character’s motivation?
    • Tie in to their background and what’s important to them.
    • Use cause and effect to make the character’s growth realistic and believable.
  • Let them face both internal and external obstacles.
    • External: fired from their dream job
    • Internal: Longs for revenge on the evil boss who fired them.
    • Internal challenges can be more important than external ones.
    • You can’t control your environment, only how you react to it.
  • Development happens over time.
    • Avoid last-minute, deathbed conversions that come out of nowhere.
    • Change often isn’t linear—one step forward, two steps back
Creating Conflict

Or, as I call it, causing ~drama~

The key that keeps readers interested in your story is conflict. If nothing is at stake, then there is not much to see. So, here are a few general tips to cause some ripples in the ponds of your characters’ lives.

“Prioritizing”: Your character has two main motives that they have been working towards, but they end up in a situation where they have to sacrifice one to save the other. Depending on how easy or hard the choice is, this range from “disappointing” to “devastating” in the sacrifice. 

Character Flaws: As I talked about in my cornerstones post, every character should have a flaw. Flaws are flaws and not strengths for a reason- they get in the way. Have your character have a moment of weakness, where they lose their values and give in to temptation or get carried away.

 In addition: Even without their key flaws, characters can sometimes just… be wrong. Maybe they miscalculated. Maybe they misunderstood. Maybe they made the wrong guess. They did what everyone does: They Done Messed Up, and now they have to deal with the result.

Liar, Liar: Someone is lying, or even keeping secrets, and now, it’s causing problems. They can’t go forward without the truth, or worse, they are making mistakes due to a warped perception of the situation.

Draw backs: Let the good things come at a cost. One key rule for worlds with magic or superpowers is that all power should come at cost- equal to or greater than the power itself. 

“Because I Said So”: Don’t forget, there are other characters in your story, and even if they are on the protagonist’s own side, they are not always going to just merrily go along with whatever the protagonist said. Maybe they disagree. Maybe they are powerful enough to get in the protagonist’s way, and maybe it’s that important to them that they try. If fighting an enemy is hard, fighting a friend is harder.

Take It Back: Your character makes a decision that seems right at the time. Maybe it was the obvious choice, or maybe it was taking a risk. But uh-oh…now there are unforeseen consequences. 

Or, the opposite…

Decisions, Decisions: Maybe your character has to make a decision where there is not an immediately obvious choice. Make sure that both/all the options have both positive and negative possible or certain outcomes. There is no obvious right or wrong choice. Bonus, it’s funny to watch the fandom debate it later. 

Strip Them Down: Remove your character’s greatest strength. For whatever reason, your character’s most valuable asset is not available, and now, they have to live without it. Bonus mode- it would be really, really helpful if they had it right now!

Or, do the opposite…

Boss Fight: Maybe, instead of your protagonist getting weaker, it’s your antagonist that gets stronger. Strengthen the opposition and see if your characters can adapt to survive, or if they lack what it takes. 

Change of Plan: The rules of the game have changed. This can mean different things depending on your story. They could be literal rules, or more general. Think Hunger Games- did I say two tributes? I meant one, after all. Fight to the death now, please.

Amplify the Emotions: … And the results that come with. People do crazy things in the heat of the moment. You can’t think straight when all you can do is feel. Blinded by anger, sadness, or even joy, your character makes a bad choice. 

*Pile It On: You know what a full plate needs? Even more stuff. Your character is already juggling, trying to balance a variety of responsibilities. So add one more ball. Do they crash and burn immediately? Does it take a while? Do they succeed?  Any which way, the stress is high.

*Note: this one can be difficult on the author, too. Make sure that with all these plot lines, you’re not losing track, yourself.

“Murphy’s Law”: Simply stated, this is a plot tool that says, “whatever can go wrong, will.” I’m just going to say right away… be careful with this one. It’s really frustrating for your audience to watch the characters fail or lose or face misfortune over and over and over again. It makes it feel like nothing will ever come out of rooting for them, so you may as well give up now. Murphy’s Law can be great in the proper proportions, please, let your characters have some victories, or there’s no point to it.

And hey, don’t forget about your inner conflicts. You never know when those are going to have the opportunity to cause trouble. 

Give ‘em hell, kids!*

***disclaimer: you do not have to be a kid to give them hell.

~Penemue

so i just wanted to make a post with all of my favorite Bakugou moments

(this was gonna be a post about bakugou-isms. like. moments where bakugou has said/done something inspiring or wise. but. ended up getting carried away jkl;agha)

anyway i apologize because. this is gonna be long

1. Bakugou declaring that he refuses to lose to anyone again, recognizing that there are other people who are stronger than him that he needs to surpass.

i just really enjoy this moment, because it was a big wake-up call for his character to realize that he isn’t the best, there are people in the world who can surpass him, and that he needs to work harder to reach his goals. the world isn’t as black and white as he thought, and it’s his first step to his major development later on.

2. Bakugou calmly analyzing the situation at USJ 

i really like this moment b/c it’s s fascinating to watch Bakugou explain that none of their classmates are in danger, and that they should instead go and capture Black Mist, because he’s how the Villains got in in the first place. 

it shows that he’s far more than just a violent, angry, rage machine. underneath it all, he’s actually far more intelligent than he seems, and this scene is one of the first that really showcases that

(this is also the moment where Kirishima finally begins to trust him; before this, he was really wary of Bakugou because of how violently he went after Izuku during the Heroes vs. Villains exams (he was seriously worried that Bakugou would kill Izuku). it’s only after this moment where Kirishima changes his initial opinion of Bakugou and begins to trust him)

3. Bakugou explaining that a quirk is nothing more than an extension of a person’s body

i just really love that, of all the characters to do this, it’s Bakugou that explains that even quirks have their limits. it’s a very introspective moment that reminds the audience that these amazing powers aren’t limitless, and that even Bakugou, despite his pride and stubbornness, knows he has limits to what he can do

4. Bakugou’s SHEER GODDAMN TENACITY DURING THE CAVALRY BATTLE 

KID JUST REFUSES TO GO DOWN AND BY DOING SO, HE INSPIRES HIS TEAMMATES WITH HIS DETERMINATION AND DESIRE TO WIN AND THEY IN TERN BECOME DETERMINED TO WIN AND NOTHING IS GONNA STOP HIM FROM BECOMING NUMBER ONE AND IT’S JUST SO AWESOME AND ENERGETIC AND  I LOVE IT

5. Bakugou acknowledging Uraraka’s strength 

PRETTY SELF EXPLANATORY, TBH. i love how he refuses to cal her weak in any capacity, defending her against Kaminari’s words. he fought her. he knows better than anyone here that she is anything but weak. and this is the first moment where he’s vocally defending another person, which i love b/c it’s another step in his character development

6. Bakugou telling off Todoroki for standing before him without the intent to win

this scene really shows a lot of what motivates Bakugou’s character. He wants to win against Todoroki–who’s one of the strongest in the class–and prove himself as the best. But Todoroki isn’t really fighting back, because he’s going through personal issues, which is understandable and under no fault of his own.

tbh, i think it’s an interesting point to think about, because everyone at the Sports Festival is here to win. they’re all trying their best–Bakugou, Izuku, Uraraka (who Bakugou even alludes to in his rant above), Momo, etc. and it is kind of insulting to fight someone who isn’t even really trying to fight back against you in a tournament where that’s the entire purpose of it all. 

that’s why Bakugou fought so hard against all of his opponents, because they all got to this level. he’s showing them respect by not going easy on them. and Bakugou finds it extremely insulting that Todoroki isn’t. i just find it a fascinating aspect to his character. it’s kind of an off-shoot of a ‘warrior’s code’ sort of thing

7. Bakugou refusing to accept his win at the Sports Festival 

again, i think it shows an interesting aspect of his character, because he feels like this win wasn’t deserved, because Todoroki didn’t give it his all. it’s a hollow win, and Bakugou knows it, and he refuses to accept it. 

8. the strength of Bakugou’s ideal of what a hero should be and his SHEER GODDAMN TENACITY DURING THE END OF TERM EXAM

I just love that his ideal of what a hero should be is based on All Might, the ultimate hero, who NEVER loses. this his why he became a hero in the first place, this is what motivates him in everything he does. to Bakugou, real heroes never lose, so he absolutely has to win. always.

and i love how he just refuses to give up–maybe it’s not always the greatest thing (pushing himself too far and all) but i find that really admirable too. no matter what, he just refuses to give up, and i love that (even if it isn’t exactly the best thing sometimes). he’s gonna do everything in his power to win, because that’s what heroes do, and nothing short of being knocked unconscious is gonna stop him.

9. Bakugou absolutely fucking REFUSING to join the Villain Alliance, practically BLOWING SHIGARAKI’S FACE UP WHILE DOING SO, because no matter what they say, he’s going to be a HERO, and goddammit. 

he was inspired by All Might, that’s the person who motivated him to become a hero in the first place, that’s the person who he’s admired since he was a child, and the person he wants to become like. and nothing in this world is going to change that.

10. Bakugou refusing to lie, even when he’s been kidnapped and surrounded by villains. 

i just find it fascinating that this is one of his personal morals, and that he (like All Might) doesn’t lie. he may be in denial more often than not, but he never lies. 

11. Aizawa defending Bakugou against the reporters

i just love how Aizawa understands Bakugou, how he realizes that Bakugou is no way in danger of becoming a villain. how Bakugou’s motivations come from an different place entirely. how it all comes from his ideal of strength, and of what a hero should be. i just really love that. 

12. Bakugou thanking All Might for saving him.

this is the third time All Might saved Bakugou. the first time, in chapter one, Bakugou was in complete denial. he didn’t need saving. he didn’t need anyone. how dare anyone think he needed rescuing?

the second time, at the Villain’s Alliance base, he was, again, in denial. he didn’t need All Might to come save him; even if he was happy and relieved that All Might was there, he wasn’t gonna admit to it. no way. absolutely not.

the third time… All Might saved him (and everyone at Kamino) by fighting against AFO. by refusing to go down. by using the last of his strength to defeat AFO, revealing his secret to the world, giving up OFA, and retiring for good. 

Bakugou feels guilty for this. he feels like the cause of All Might’s retirement. for getting kidnapped in the first place. for not being strong enough to save himself. so this time, he’s without denial or bluster. instead, he quietly thanks All Might for saving him, because he knows what All Might gave up to do it.

it’s a big moment of character growth for him. prior to all of that, Bakugou never would’ve done that. but the weight of All Might’s sacrifice was just too much, it humbled him. he couldn’t deny it anymore. so he sincerely thanked All Might for saving him, for the first time, quietly admitting to his weakness.

13. Bakugou giving Kirishima back the money he used to buy the night vision goggles for the rescue mission (learning about it from Kaminari), while also cheering the class up after Aizawa scolded them, by making Kaminari fry his brain and making them all laugh. 

just… what a fantastic moment of character growth from Bakugou. he felt guilty for Kirishima using his money to buy those goggles (which ended up getting destroyed during the mission), and he feels bad for being the reason why class getting reprimanded in the first place. so he fixes both situations as best he can, while still being his gruff, grumpy self. 

he gives back the money, and cheers the class up at the same time. and Aizawa totally catches onto it, too. “A farce like this has it’s place once in a while, I suppose.” it just shows that Bakguou actually does care about his class, Kirishima in particular. 

it shows that he cares his friends and his class, and i love that

14. Kaminari talking about Bakugou during the Provisional License Exam 

Kaminari mentions how the insulting words Seiji is throwing at them stings, and Sejii assumes Kaminari is talking about himself. he isn’t. Kaminari corrects him while throwing one of Bakugou’s grenades, which gives a visual cue of who he’s talking about. Bakugou.

Bakugou got angry at Seiji’s words. he charged in recklessly because he couldn’t stand the insults to UA anymore. he got upset at hearing the people he cares about be insulted. and then Kaminari goes on to say/think about how Bakugou wasn’t using the full force of his attacks. 

he was purposefully using lower-powered blasts in order to keep Kirishima and Kaminari safe. he purposefully put himself at a disadvantage just so he wouldn’t accidentally hurt them with the force of his attacks. 

Kaminari realizes this and praises Bakugou, defends him against Seiji’s words. he may not have the kindest or sweetest personality, but he’s serious about being a hero. he’s serious about keeping them safe. he’s serious about everything, and he can’t stand hearing Seiji insult him, the people he cares about, or UA.

15. Bakugou’s guilt at causing All Might’s retirement.

oh my god, save this child. save him. he completely, totally blames himself for causing the person he admires the most, the person who inspired him to become a hero, the man who’s motivated him since he was a child, to fall.

he’s just 15. he’s just a child. and he feels guilty for this, he’s feeling the full weight of it on his shoulders, breaking down from it all, and he doesn’t know how to handle it. he’s scared. he’s terrified. he feels horrible. the number 1 hero in the world was forced to retire and it’s all his fault

he’s been blaming himself for this for weeks. he’s just a child. he isn’t responsible for any of it, but he feels like he is. if only he were stronger, if only he got away on his own power, if only he did this or that, maybe All Might would still be a hero. if only he wasn’t so weak.

i love this moment, as painful as it is, because it shows just how human Bakugou is. it shows that he really is just a child dealing with horrible guilt, among other emotional issues (feeling like Izuku was looking down at him for all these years, being terrified that Izuku could one day surpass him, realizing that All Might acknowledged Izuku over him, having a superiority and inferiority complex that just exploded, feeling desperate for an answer over what he should do, and who was right in how they admired All Might (Bakugou for how he always wins, Izuku for how he always saves people with a smile, etc)).

in the end, he’s still just a child. a child dealing with so much more than he ever let on until this fight, where it all exploded out of him, because he just didn’t know how to handle them. he couldn’t bottle it up anymore. 

(i will never, ever excuse or justify any of the horrible things Bakugou did in the past. what he did was inexcusable. but god.. he’s still just a child.)

i love this moment because he’s so scared, terrified, upset, confused, desperate and just so damn human in this moment, and i love it. he’s not just an angry kid. he’s not just a violent, rage machine. there are so many emotions that drive him and i love it so much.

16. Bakugou supporting Izuku after their fight

i just…. really love this. Bakugou has had so many issues with Izuku in the past, many of them stemming from misunderstandings. as mentioned above, he thought Izuku was looking down on him. he was terrified of Izuku’s growth, feared that one day he could actually surpass him one day. but now they’ve talked. now they understand each other better. now Izuku has the support of All Might… and he can’t be losing. 

(and again, none of those reasons justify what Bakugou did to Izuku for those ten years. but they explain why he did it in the first place. i just want to emphasize that) 

to Bakugou, real heroes never lose. Bakugou is applying that to Izuku, now. he’s got the greatest hero in the world helping him, and he can’t be losing. Bakugou, in his own way, is supporting Izuku. it’s one of the biggest moments of character growth for him. for the longest time, he was terrified of Izuku. scared he’d be left behind while Izuku grew stronger. but now he’s putting that aside. 

Izuku has All Might’s power. he has All Might’s support. they both admired him… and now Izuku is being supported by him. so now Bakugou will, too.

Izuku has the greatest hero in the world looking after him. he can’t be losing now. not anymore.

17. Bakugou encouraging Kirishima

i just…. look at how far Bakugou has come. he went from being terrified of others being better than him–of not being as great as he grew up believing–and now he’s supporting Izuku (the person who scared and frustrated him the most), and now he’s actively giving encouragement and helping his friend. 

hell. Bakugou has friends now. he didn’t have any at the beginning of the series; he was to full of pride to see anything but  himself. but now he does, and he’s giving them encouragement. giving Kirishima encouragement. and he’s doing so by drawing from the Kamino incident, the very incident that gave him so much guilt and confusion and pain. the incident that probably gave him nightmares for who knows how long. 

he’s bringing up that incident to comfort and support and encourage his friend. he’s talking about how there are different kinds of strength out there–that just refusing to go down is it’s own strength. this from the kid who’s entire philosophy on heroism is to never lose. 

he’s not scared of being surpassed. he’s got friends now. he’s helping and supporting them in his own way. he’s not afraid to think of the very incident that caused him so much pain; he’s healing from it, slowly. he’s learned from it. he’s slowly accepting that it wasn’t his fault. he’s admitting that there are other kinds of strength out there, besides just winning. it’s about refusing to go down (like All Might did at Kamino). 

this is one of my favorite moments, even tho it’s so short, because it’s a culmination of Bakugou’s character development so far in the story. it’s a small moment, but it wouldn’t mean anything without the hundred or so chapters proceeding it, showing all of Bakugou’s complexities, and all of his personal issues, motivations, emotional struggles, etc. 

this moment is great because it shows just how far Bakugou has come since chapter one. he’s almost a completely different character than who he was, where he began. and that’s why i love it so much

long story short Bakugou is an incredibly complex kid and i love him a lot

related meta:

[you can find more Bakugou meta here]

Here, in case I haven’t quite driven the point home:

Just in case anyone wants to try me today.

This isn’t “overreacting” or “making a big deal out of nothing” this is a genuine problem and I’m tired of skinny people deciding what is and isn’t offensive to fat people. White people don’t get to declare what is racist, Straight people don’t get to decide what is homophobic, and Cis people don’t get to decide what is transphobic.

So, that being said, your skinny idealized-by-society selves do not get to decide when fat people are experiencing fatphobia.

My entire god damn life has been a fat joke, I would walk down halls and people would make jokes like “fatty want a donut” and while waiting outside the classroom for the teacher to show up would say “try not to eat us.”

I watch shows, listen to music, read comics and books to escape; not to see one of the very few characters representing me to be subjected to the same fucking stereotype placed upon me by society.

The stereotype that; because I’m fat my only motivation, my only goal, and my only desire in life, is food. That my only passion is to cook. That my only source of happiness comes from eating.

And it’s fucking upsetting, and even more so when it’s brushed off as not being an issue.

Skinny characters get multifacted personalities. The jokester who is self-conscious. The reserved loner who has a temper but is actually vulnerable and going through an identity crisis and experiences racism. The geek who is seen as calculated and a walking wikipedia but actually has feelings and is missing their loved ones and learns what true friendship is. The delicate princess that is so dainty and light yet embraces those things and learns to fight and kill a man with her bare hands if she so desired.

But what do fat people get?

Either tall hulking brute that is overly agressive and overpowered. Or the super soft and squishy fat guy that loves everyone and is obsessed with food. Maybe, just maybe, sometimes we will get the tolerable asshole who makes dick jokes and is overly cocky but secretly kind (90% of the time they’re gamers).

So to see a character that could also have a family he misses, or has lost. A character that could also relate with racial issues. A character motivated by his teamates, that used to be nauseous just riding in his lion that now blows up ships just for tailgaiting and is strong enough to probably carry multiple people by himself, that would sacrifice himself in a heartbeat to save a stranger let alone those he loves…

Boiled down to a shitty joke where he frantically chases the smell of a pie to get to the center of a maze as motivation.

Makes me want to fucking cry, because my one safe space, my one escape; is using the same type of shitty jokes that kids used while shoving me in locker rooms and snapping rubber bands against my skin in class.

Though I’m so sorry for “over reacting” and inconveniencing you.

I’m so sorry for speaking out about a character that you don’t care about.

But more than anything, I’m sorry that you’re truly that heartless to tell hundreds of people who are being genuinely hurt to basically “get over it.”

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sixofcrowsnw challenge: take two ≡ best moment of your otp

kanej + religion