CHARACTER MOTIVATION THESAURUS

AVOIDING CERTAIN DEATH



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HELPFUL TIP:

To understand why your character is driven toward a certain goal, take time to understand their personality and moral compass using the positive and negative trait thesauri. Also, dig into their backstory to find an unresolved emotional wound. Past trauma is disruptive and can generate unmet needs that, if strong enough, will motivate your character to chase a specific goal to satisfy this need.
FORMS THIS MIGHT TAKE:
Being in an apartment building that catches on fire
Being imprisoned by someone (a serial killer, terrorist, or kidnapper) who has no intent of letting one live
Being a prisoner on Death Row
Escaping a concentration camp
Being a POW (prisoner of war)
Escaping enemy territory when "shoot on sight" orders are in effect
Being slated to appear before a firing squad or hanging judge
Living in a land where all occupants are being exterminated (by hostile forces, aliens, etc.)
Discovering one has been poisoned and must procure an antidote
Being abandoned in a hostile climate (in a desert without supplies, shipwrecked, etc.)
Suffering torture that is growing increasingly violent
Suffering extreme sleep deprivation
Being grievously wounded and in need of medical help to survive
Having an infection that must be treated before toxic shock sets in
Suffering from hypothermia, extreme thirst, or extreme hunger
Being expendable (as a slave, as a witness, etc.)
Being exposed to radiation or another harmful contaminant
Being in the path of a destructive element (a forest fire, flood, tornado, nuclear fallout, etc.)

HUMAN NEED DRIVING THE GOAL (INNER MOTIVATION):
There are five basic human needs that, when missing from a character's life, could motivate them to pursue this goal. The following needs are all possibilities, but only one of them should be the primary driver for any given character. For more information on the relationship between human needs and outer motivations, please see​ this ​Character Motivation tutorial.

Self-Actualization: If a character believed they were meant for a higher purpose, they would do anything to stay alive, regardless of the situation.
Esteem and Recognition: In a situation involving a high-risk game or challenge, the character might work to stay alive not only to survive but also for bragging rights or to maintain a position of high esteem, such as being a prize fighter or gladiator.
Love and Belonging: If a loved one was in danger, the character could push themselves to stay alive in order to save that person. The desire to be with the beloved could also drive them to avoid death, even in a seemingly impossible scenario.
Safety and Security: In order to keep themselves and/or loved ones safe, the character might act to prevent a fatality, possibly taking unusual risks or sacrificing morals to do so.
Physiological Needs: If a character's life was threatened, fight-or-flight responses would kick in and they would do whatever it took to stay alive.

HOW THE CHARACTER MAY PREPARE FOR THIS GOAL:
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POSSIBLE SACRIFICES OR COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS GOAL:
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ROADBLOCKS WHICH COULD PREVENT THIS GOAL FROM BEING ACHIEVED:
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TALENTS & SKILLS THAT WILL HELP THE CHARACTER ACHIEVE THIS GOAL:
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WHAT'S AT STAKE IF THIS GOAL ISN'T MET?
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CLICHÉS TO AVOID:
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