Hi all! Welcome to the final week of the A to Z challenge! Just a quick shout to all my new bloggy friends. In particular, hi and thanks to Catherine Denton, the 500th person to click follow. ^_^
So today, I want to do a quick post about motives, ulterior and otherwise. Yes, technically this is cheating, but I had to do the map on M-day.
Motives can actually be a tricky thing to deal with, even if we're not dealing with mysteries. After all, I've met/read about very few people who do things for absolutely no reason. There is ALWAYS a reason for doing something. Even when it comes to serial killers. Someone might decide to kill women wearing polka dots because he hates women wearing polka dots.
Because his polka-dot-adoring mother abused him as a child.
Or... because his pet tapeworm told him to do it. (True story, incidentally. HF Verwoerd's assassin said that his tapeworm told him to kill the politician. He proceeded to follow the worm's edict with some ingenious planning...)
The motive might not make much sense to us, because the character is so foreign to us and our way of thinking. But it's there must be a reason.
That reason must make sense to the character, were he to consider why he does things.
Now, ulterior motives add another dimension to the mix. Now we have to deal with at least two motives: The real motive (known mainly by the character taking the action) and the motive(s) everyone else attributes to the character. Sometimes, the reader knows the real motive because it comes through in the characters thoughts. Other times (and I like this one) it sort of phases into the reader's mind as the story progresses that the motive everyone assumed to be valid is, in fact (and often-times catastrophically), not.
Do you have a character who harbors ulterior motives? How do you deal with the motives? Do the other characters accept him/her on good faith, or does someone not trust him/her?