I’ve been working on my characters for my wip and I’ve been struggling with what their core philosophies are, what their values and mottoes might be. And I figure if I’m having trouble with it, maybe someone else is, too. So I hit the internet. Here are a few snippets of what I found:
…usually the essence of who the person is and how they’re going to react in your book is the answer to that simple question—what is their motto?
Susan Gable defines a motto as: A deeply held personal belief, stemming from the characters backstory, that impacts the way s/he views and world and behaves.
This motto is a quick way to boil down to the bones and find your character’s internal motivation and conflict. What world view do they have to change to resolve their internal conflict? What is ground zero for their character arc?
One of the most powerful aspects of your character are the values he or she holds deep within. Creating a character with a strong internal moral compass adds depth to your character and power to your story.
Values are psychological objects.Although we cannot see or touch them, they are every bit as real as any physical object. People may dedicate their entire lives or even give up their lives to pursue their values, as so many loyal patriots have done fighting for values of freedom, equality and human rights during the past two centuries.
The author lists 100+ Common Personal Values. There’s also a link to Society’s Values.
Value systems create opportunity for conflict and give characters depth. Once we’ve discovered those values, the plot comes alive as characters struggle to be true to themselves.
Ask – What three things does your character value the most? The most important thing for X is: survival ….. adhering to the rules ….. scientific discovery …. family ….. avoiding love … finding love …. and so on.
The motto is the soul of your character, a core philosophy they hold dear. It can range from “The glass is always half-full” (or empty, depending on your character) to “Do unto others before they do unto you.”
It’s important to understand that your character doesn’t have to be consciously aware of his life motto, nor does he have to articulate it to the reader.
So…what are some of the philosophies, values, and/or mottoes held by your characters? Do you have special techniques to share about how you create/discover your characters’ philosophies/mottoes?
Wichita Area Romance Authors (WARA) is a group of talented authors who are serious about writing for publication. WARA was established to help writers realize their dream of being published and to provide support for writers of romantic fiction. We count several published authors among our members.