CHARACTER MOTIVATION THESAURUS

CARRYING ON A LEGACY



Never struggle with Show-and-Tell again. Sign up and activate your free trial, Sign in as a subscriber to view the Character Motivation Thesaurus in its entirety, or visit the Table of Contents to explore unlocked entries.

START MY 2-WEEK FREE TRIAL

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:
Taking over the family business
Fostering children because one's parents did so
Choosing a job that reflects the values of one's caregivers, such as becoming a social worker or missionary
Supporting a charity organization because of its impact on one personally—i.e., supporting cancer research because one's mother died from the disease
Rallying around a topic of social awareness to right a wrong
Gathering informing about a person who broke ground in an important area and sharing it with others
Building upon an area of study
Throwing oneself into a personally meaningful area of political or social activism
Raising one's family in a certain faith because it's the way one was raised
Reconnecting with one's religious, cultural, or hereditary roots

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: A character with a deep yearning to celebrate a belief, ideal, or higher power may dedicate themselves to honoring that legacy. For example, a character who is deeply dedicated to Buddhism may choose to serve by becoming a monk.
Esteem and Recognition: Many long-established organizations, like a well-known sorority or an Ivy League school, embody pride and prestige due to the pedigree of their members or the work that they do. A character who is struggling with self-esteem or who seeks the recognition of others may join this type of organization and take on their values and beliefs as a way to gain power, influence, and respect. 
Love and Belonging: A character who feels unaccepted by family may choose the career of their parents or predecessors (teaching, law enforcement, military, etc.) to gain what's missing. 

HOW THE CHARACTER MAY PREPARE FOR THIS GOAL:
...

POSSIBLE SACRIFICES OR COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS GOAL:
...

ROADBLOCKS WHICH COULD PREVENT THIS GOAL FROM BEING ACHIEVED:
...

TALENTS & SKILLS THAT WILL HELP THE CHARACTER ACHIEVE THIS GOAL:
...

WHAT'S AT STAKE IF THIS GOAL ISN'T MET?
...

CLICHÉS TO AVOID:
...