Motivating your scene

We've all been there. Your manuscript is open and you know exactly what needs to happen in this scene. But every time you try to write, you get farther away from where it needs to go. Your scene is acting like a stubborn three year old.

This happened to me recently. I needed one of my characters to show two others a secret place. This is important to my story. So off my characters go to learn about this secret place, only I can't get them there.

So I stopped to think about it. I know why two of the characters want to go. My female MC has a crush on the guy with the secret and would follow him anywhere. The male MC is the type who has to know about everything (because knowledge is power). But why would my other character (lets call him Ed) go there. Sure, Ed's nice, but he's got other stuff to do. Ahhh...what if he needed something from the secret place. He's going there anyway and offers to let my MCs tag along. Eureka!

I was missing the motivation. Even though all the character actions fit with who they are, I forgot to make sure that they were properly motivated to do something.

What's your character's carrot? source

It's not enough that your character is the type who likes the library. I love the library, but I don't go just because. I go because I need to return books or get new ones, or do some research, or whatever. You can't just say, My character loves the library so she goes and meets the love interest while wondering around looking for something to do. But she can go to the library because the book she put on hold just came in and she meets Mr. Right at the circulation desk. Aha, motivation.

So next time you can't get a scene to move in the right direction, take a look at your character motivation and make sure everyone has a reason for being there.

Fast Draft Day 2 Check In!
Goal: 5000 words
Actual:  5000 on the dot!