Exasperating Characters ~ Plotting via Motivation

No, not these 3 characters. But they are cute, aren’t they?

Maybe I should have called this NO Plot via Motivation. Have you ever had a character that refused to talk to you? I have. I’m dealing with her right now. I’m in the second book of a series.

This character, Lacy, was in the first manuscript. She’s the sister of another character in my small fictional town. My “plan” was to have her story the main plotline of the second manuscript.

The set-up

In the first novel and through the main POV characters, I set-up Lacy’s personality … or at least what I’d gleaned from her character analysis. I use a fairly detailed character interview, including the GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) and the lie the character believes about herself.

In the first manuscript Lacy played a very minor part, so I didn’t dwell on her GMC. All I needed to do was let the reader know she was shy, hardly ever spoke, and was plain (and I don’t mean Amish).

Lacy is the invisible kind of plain. I wanted a person other people overlooked. The kind who could be at a party and no one remembers them being there. Interestingly enough, her husband is cute, the boy next door. And he adores her.

The problem

I finished the first manuscript having set-up Lacy exactly as I planned. In the second one, she and her sister would both play POV parts. I went through their character analysis sheets and expanded them for POV.

What I discovered changed everything. First of all, I thought these sisters were close, since Lacy’s sister, Lydia, had moved after the death of her husband, to be closer to Lacy. Ha! I found deep-seeded animosity between them, stemming from their childhood. Was I shocked!

Lydia was easy. She’s open and shared her life with me. Lacy? She clammed up. So much so, I realized she wasn’t ready to be a POV character.

Resolution … for now

I changed the second manuscript’s plot and POV character. Lacy will play an increasing part in this one, and it’s my hope I’ll discover more of her motivation. That’s what has me stuck. I know what she wants, I know her conflict, but I don’t know her motivation.

At first I thought perhaps I’m not far enough along as a writer to write a character that is so far removed from me. After all, I’m not remotely shy. Well, maybe a tad in certain situations. Oh, come on, I can be shy. But not as shy as Lacy. While we always grow as writers, I’m still fascinated by Lacy.

I’ve decided to forge ahead, even though I can’t figure her out … yet.

But I refuse to be intimidated by her. So,  I’m taking a course, “Plotting Via Motivation” by Laurie Schnebly Campbell (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PlottingViaMotivation/). Laurie told me, accompanied by a chuckle, that she’s looking forward to playing counselor to Lacy. I’m looking forward to the course.