• Ordinary people. Extraordinary romance.

    Ordinary people. Extraordinary romance.

The Princess Bride has a little bit of everything.  Fencing.  Fighting.  Torture. Poison. True Love, etc.

It also has Motivation, Goals and Conflict (especially conflict.)

In my mind, Motivation is the most important of the three.  A man can have a goal of climbing Mt. Everest or landing a sailfish in the Caribbean, but until he has the motivation to get out of his Lazy Boy recliner and take climbing lessons or book a trip to the Bahamas, he’s still going to have those goals a year from now.

Motivation is the “why” of your story

It is your character’s reason to make the journey through the story.  It’s his drive, his constant, a real, pressing need that has to be strong enough to withstand the escalating conflict he’ll encounter.  Motivation can be anything, no matter how unbelievable(or inconceivable) to the reader, as long as the reader buys into the concept that the characater believes in it.

External motivation is something simple and concrete

  • Vizzini, Fezzik and Inigo will get the balance of their fee if they kill Buttercup at the Guilder frontier.
  • Humperdinck will invade Guilder after his wedding.
  • “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya; you killed my father, prepare to die.”

Internal motivation is something intangible

It reinforces the sense of self and is interwoven with the character’s identity.  The reader doesn’t have to know the internal motivation, but you, the writer, do.

  • Westley is motivated by his love for Buttercup.
  • I have taught myself languages because of you.  I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body.
  • Buttercup loves Westley and agrees to surrender to Humperdinck outside the Fire Swamp if he agrees to not hurt Westley.
  • The narrator (grandfather in the movie, father in the book) continues to visit and read to his (grand)son even though the boy shows disinterest in the story.
  • Fezzik puts up with Vizzini’s abuse because he doesn’t want to be left alone.

Motivation can change

This is most evident in Buttercup.  After Westley leaves to seek his fortune, she takes an interest in herself for the first time and quickly becomes the most beautiful woman in a hundred years.

After it’s reported the Dread Pirate Roberts has killed him, her motivation is to choose life over death, even if it involves marriage to Prince Humperdinck.  When the Man in Black reveals himself as Westley, she wants to live again and waits impatiently for word from Humperdinck’s four fastest ship and ultimate rescue.  But at 5:46 on her wedding day, she’s looking for a weapon to use to kill herself.

Motivation can not change

Inigo’s thirst for revenge never wavers.  Westley’s love remains constant.

Whatever you’re character’s motivation, it’s the touchstone he’ll go to at the moment of crisis.  His values will change very little during his journey.

I will discuss goals and conflict in my next two posts.



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Do you have a self-published book marketing plan?

Do you have a self-published book marketing plan?

Do you have a self-published book marketing plan?Is your book self-published?  Have you figured out your self-published book marketing plan?

With the introduction of the Kindle in 2007 (only 7 years ago?) the publishing industry changed. It’s still changing.  I believe the big city publishers continue to work their way through how they can survive. This means they’re skittish on taking chances on unknown writers – that’s you.  Self-publishing may be the only way to get your work to the readers.

Assuming you’ve published to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc, how do you market your book? This new venue has resulted in thousands of more books becoming available to readers.  How do you stand out in the crowd?

Here are some tips on how to market your self-published book.

  1. Make sure it’s well written. Polish, polish, polish and have it edited by someone who not only can find grammatical and punctuation errors, but can spot plot holes, characterization problems and continuity lapses. If you’re going to forgo the NYC publishing process, make your work look like it hasn’t.
  2. Find your reader. Yeah, easier said than done, but you know the type of audience who will read your book because that person is you. Where do you hang out? Where do you go to find new reads? Target those areas and you’ll find your readers. I know I’ve overlooked a couple of places where I could publish my books, hitting my target audience right in their pocketbooks.
  3. Brand yourself. I’ve made a concentrated effort to increase my brand awareness. I write paranormal romantic comedies, and try to capitalize on the “Extraordinary romances set in an alternate realities” that I have at the top of this blog.
  4. Use free internet marketing. This means Facebook and other social media. Don’t participate in every avenue there is, or you’ll stretch your time (better spent writing) too thin. Pick two or three venues that you enjoy. Comment on others’ posts. Be a presence. Be an authority on your niche. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to book marketing, check it out.

Making a plan and having goals are useless if they are not implemented. Break the goals down into manageable steps, create a calendar and find someone who can hold you accountable. Use the points listed above to reorient your self-published book marketing plan. You’ll see a steady increase in sales.

All the best!


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