CHARACTER MOTIVATION THESAURUS

CATCHING THE BAD GUY OR GIRL



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:
Catching a killer before he strikes again
Stopping the terrorist before his bomb goes off
Identifying a kidnapper so his victims can be freed
Catching a ring of car or bank thieves
Figuring out who's running a trafficking ring
Finding the person responsible for someone's murder
Stopping a serial killer or rapist
Identifying the leak in one's department
Stopping a megalomaniac or cult leader from killing a large number of people
Figuring out who the double agent is and stopping him/her from selling secrets to the enemy
Stopping an assassin from completing his mission

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 wanting to right a wrong or correct past injustices may do so by going after a nefarious individual. For instance, if a marginalized family or people group was victimized while the community turned a blind eye, the character may pursue this goal out of a determination to achieve justice for them.
Esteem and Recognition: A character who was stripped of their accomplishments as a result of poor judgment or professional misconduct could view the chance to catch a criminal as a way of regaining the esteem of others. 
Safety and Security: A character whose loved one is in danger will do anything to capture the responsible person so the threat is neutralized. 
Physiological Needs: If a character was in mortal danger, they would be driven to catch the bad guy.

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:
...