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All Characters Have Motivations

There's an author, Charles Baxter. He wrote 'The Art of Subtext.' One of the things he's talking about is even not just about your main characters, your protagonist, and your speaker, but also the other characters as well.


For these other characters that are appearing, it's very easy to create these flat personalities that, as soon the scene leaves them, they kind of... It's like they're like robots, and when the scene's over, they just kind of turn off.


Whereas, I think the example Baxter gave was, let's say you have a character who's working in an office. They come into the office one day, and one of the side characters, not a main character (you may only have like them appear in a couple scenes) is there. The main character walks in and sees this side character digging a hole in their cubicle. They’re pants are covered with dirt, there are sweat stains on their armpits—they’ve obviously been at this a while.


The protagonist thinks, 'What?' You know? Because it's like a weird thing to see. But it shows that the side characters also have their own motivations. They have their own worlds that they're inhabiting too.


So try not just to think about the main character, your protagonist or speaker, but also think about everyone else that's appearing. Everyone has their own motivations, you know? And the more that you can make that come to life, I think the more it can make whatever you're working on also come to life too.

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