One thing that's crucial to a good story is the main character's motivation. It's pretty much what drives the story.
And it's one thing to drop a character into a situation. I can think of dozens of books that feature a reluctant hero. But what motivates that character to stay the course?
Perhaps a character is given choices. His ultimate desire and motivation should determine his path. Perhaps he selects the wrong road to travel? Maybe he even gets sidetracked and forgets his original motivation.
What if there is no choice? What if our character has only one path? I often think that's similar to real life. We have a goal, a motivation, but our ideal route of choice isn't always the one provided. Or the journey just isn't how we'd envisioned it.
Motivation has a variety of forms and sources. Interior or exterior. Emotional or logical. Past events or future dreams. A combination of those forces and occurrences can fuel our character's motivations.
Character motivation is probably the one thing I considered the most when writing my book. Events of the past, most notably those outside of their control, motivated my main characters. Throughout the story, I kept referring back to their motivation - was it apparent in every scene? Did their actions and behaviors line up with that drive? For me, it was like a gut check to make sure I was still on track.
How strongly do you follow through on your character's motivations?
Do you like highly motivated characters in your books?
Just Alex pondering on writing...