Inner Drives: How to Write and Create Characters Using the Eight Classic Centers of Motivation

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How can we communicate effectively across all these borders? Symbols and images affect people emotionally — hence their exceptional effectiveness. Because there is no particular rational attachment to them, visuals are a universal language that engages our intuition and imagination. The more consciously you use symbols and images in your stories, the more effective your message will be.

Using appropriate visuals will heighten the emotional impact of your story and will connect your audience to the rich stream of meaning — conscious and unconscious — that flows through humanity and our arts. Ann: Can you give us a few examples like how the element of air can be used in films and their meanings?

Pamela Jaye: Air is the very essence of life itself: You can live without food for weeks, without water for a few days, but without air for only a few minutes. Wind is the messenger of the gods. The random breeze can bring illumination; the flight of birds spurs inspiration; the fury of a storm is divine punishment. Creation myths often begin when a divinity exhales the very cosmos, or breathes life into inanimate objects, transforming them into living, breathing creatures. In The Iliad , King Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia to bring winds to move the becalmed Greek fleet off shore and onward to Troy.

He pays dearly for that upon his return 10 years later when his Queen Clytemnestra, still upset about the sacrifice of their daughter, stabs him to death. In Master and Commander , the ship at full sail is a glorious vision of air in motion, taking the valiant men off on an adventure. In The Kite Runner , air lifting the kites above the turmoils on the ground indicates aspiration and hope. Pamela Jaye: Deva is a Sanskrit word meaning essence or identity.

Table of contents for Inner drives

Business has Institutional Memory and religions have Dogma. Lovers have their special relationships, Jung labeled personalized universal patterns Archetypes, and wars are fought over ideologies. All of these are devas. Devas influence us according to our receptiveness: the disaffected do not thrill to the national anthem, the disillusioned lover is immune to pleas and kisses, and the non-believer pooh-poohs angels and aliens.

Plug into a deva, however, and your life changes: religious converts, new lovers, revolutionaries, and avid fans are all affected by devas. In creating the antagonist or the dangerous situation in your stories, selecting an effective deva can make all the difference between a story with limp drama and one with vivid conflict. Its part of how genres work: the horror story deva is like the big url — www. Pamela Jaye: Conflict lies at the heart of all effective stories.

These all need to be appropriate, balanced, believable, and capable of contributing to a satisfactory resolution. Ineffectiveness in these elements of conflict is one of the biggest problems story-tellers have. The undefined antagonist undercuts the heroism of the protagonist.

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Just as the symbol of the Tao shows white and black swirling around each other with a dot of the other in the center, so too will the best stories have balanced weight from the Dark Side as well as from the Light. Learn to use these Inner Drives and you too can tap into the power of myth for characters in any genre or style. My article in The Writers Store ezine gives an overview of the chakra system and its relevance to media.

In this column we explore the Ajna Chakra, the command central of the lower chakras. From this seat of wisdom the Ajna integrates and balances all the chakras into a stable, effective whole. One thing is that Frodo develops an Ajna Focus as the trilogy progresses, learning through trial and error to balance and integrate his mind, his emotions, and his body. Like any Ajna Center character, Frodo can see the big picture. Aided by Bilbo, Gandalf, the Fellowship of the Ring, and the other characters he meets along his quest, he has a growing sense of the past and how it creates the present, as well as a sense of how the present creates the future.

Your Ajna Center characters need to have vision, a sense of balance, and the ability to synergize themselves, other people, events, and things to accomplish that vision.

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The pituitary gland, located in the center of the brain, is the control center for all the other glands and hormones. The Ajna Center is named after the Hindu warrior-prince Arjuna. This title is perfect for writers and creative-writing students. Writing is a lonely task, and most times, a difficult one. Often, we writers get so close to our own work that we fail to see glaring errors, inconsistencies and little details that could either make or break our book. Writing groups and critique groups help writers spot these errors and improve not only a particular manuscript, but their writing skills as well.

Each section also ends with helpful worksheets. Section 1 is an introduction on the basics of a critique group.


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It helped me figure out how to choose the kind of group that was right for me, and gave me tips and instructions on how to set up and run a group. Section 2 delves gives useful instructions on how to critique fiction—whether its for adult, young-adult or middle grade readers. It gives specific tips on how to critique for plot, character, point of view and voice, dialogue, description and scene structure.

This was extremely helpful in our most recent critique session, as most of the words submitted for critique were fiction works. Section 3 gives important instructions on how to critique non-fiction works like magazine articles, non-fiction book proposals, how to or self-help books, memoirs and travel writing.

I found Section 4 very helpful for our writing group. Section 5 dives into what to do after all the critiques. It shows writers how to revise and self-edit based on the critiques they have received from their group members. Critique comments can be overwhelming and knowing how to make easy changes and even tackle the bigger revisions is a lifesaver for writers.


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  • Section 6 talks about how to maintain an evolving group. The chapters include brainstorming topics, critiquing for submission, networking and promotion and even troubleshooting group dynamics. It provides valuable information for writing group organizers and leaders. The best thing about The Writing and Critique Group Survival Guide is that each section comes with worksheets, sample critiques and examples.

    PDF downloads of the worksheets are even available for download here. I would recommend this book for writers who wish to hone their editing skills and deepen their understanding of revision and editing.

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    It is a most helpful resource, especially for writers who wish to either join or set-up their own writing group. All the agents and editors I met emphasized one very important thing: the key to a rejection or acceptance often hinges on the first line of a manuscript. Literary agents have the difficult task of finding a diamond in the rough. They wade through a sea of submissions also known as the slushpile and try to find manuscripts that they can sell. I asked one of the editors present how she gets interested in a manuscript.

    If that interests me, then I read the first paragraph. If the first paragraph is good, I read on until I get to the end of the first page. If the first page has kept my interest, I read the first chapter. If the first chapter works, then maybe I ask for the full manuscript. My stomach knitted itself into a sweater when I heard those words.

    My dreams of getting a book published, which awhile ago seemed so near, was now a galaxy away. I realized with horror just how much work I had to do, and I almost fainted. Luckily, alcoholic beverages were within reach, and I took a sip okay, maybe several sips to calm my nerves. I had already churned thousands of words into a story. Unwilling to let them go to waste, I immediately got to work finding a writing book that would help me create a strong beginning.

    Agents and editors agree: Improper story beginnings are the single biggest barrier to publication. If a novel or short story has a bad beginning, then no one will keep reading. Hooked provides readers with a detailed understanding of what a beginning must include setup, backstory, the inciting incident, etc. I read the entire book in one sitting, and re-read it again just to make notes. I have also recommended this book to several of my writing friends, as well as writing group members.

    Les Edgerton has written numerous short stories, articles, essays, and screenplays. In Hooked, Les Edgerton defines beginnings in terms of a novel, and explains why beginnings are very important. He gives us helpful instructions and tips on how to develop these story elements, and warns us of red flag opening lines we need to avoid writing. Edgerton also analyzes twenty great opening lines from various novels and short stories, and explains to the reader what makes these lines work.

    As an added bonus, he has collected insider advice from agents and editors on what they look for in a strong opening. This book is a valuable source of information in creating strong beginnings in works of fiction. It is a book every writer must have on his shelf. Character-driven stories are propelled forward by the characters of the book. Plot-driven stories, on the other hand, are stories where things happen to the character. The characters react to the events happening around them and do not actively create the events or situations by themselves.