Monday, May 14, 2012

Lessons Learned from the Movies Series: Part 2 by Fay Lamb

If you're a fiction writer, I imagine you love story. And if you love story, I'm guessing you love good movies. Today, Fay Lamb is back for her second installment on story craft lessons she learned from movies. Enjoy! 

Scenes to Remember: 
Motivating Your Character
by Fay Lamb

Lots of people aimlessly roam around in life, bouncing from one opportunity to the next. Sometimes they hit pay dirt by accident. Most times, they wander around accomplishing nothing.

An author cannot afford to allow his lead character to drift for one single moment. In movies, as in novels, each scene must link to the next scene then the next to build to the conclusion of the story. Character motivation is the link to each scene.

In the movie August Rush, the little hero is on a journey to find his parents. He’s actually in tune with the One who directs our steps, and he knows that somewhere in the world outside the orphanage where he resides, he has a mother and a father. His goal throughout the story is to find his parents. He takes the first step by leaving the orphanage, and his journey is detoured along the way, but in each scene he moves closer to his goal.

Every lead character in your novel must have a clear goal, and each scene for that lead character must move him one step closer to his goal.

It isn’t a big enough goal for ex-master thief, Andrew, to want to rob the owner of the most magnificent diamond in the world if Andrew doesn’t have something significant pushing him toward that goal. And since jewel thieves aren’t the likeliest of heroic figures, that goal must be something the reader can sympathize with, like say, the girl he loves, Hannah, the one he gave up the life of crime for is dying.

While he lived pretty well as a master thief, when he denounced his old ways and gave back ten-fold to those he stole from, he definitely doesn’t have the money to help her now. With that added incentive, right or wrong, Andrew moves forward and he brings the reader with him. They are marching right alongside him—willing to get caught with him, if that’s what it takes to get Hannah the treatment she needs. All the while, the reader is looking for a way for Andrew to help Hannah without taking the wrong course.

Every character needs to be motivated by something. The larger the goal, the larger the scene, the greater the setbacks for the character, and the better the read for those wanting to see a character reach his goal.


Fay Lamb works as an acquisition/copyeditor for Pelican Book Group (White Rose Publishing and Harbourlight Books), offers her services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Because of Me, her debut romantic suspense novel is soon to be released by Treble Heart Books/Mountainview Publishing. Fay has a passion for working with and encouraging fellow writers. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she co-moderates the large Scribes’ Critique Group and manages the smaller Scribes’ critique groups. For her efforts, she was the recipient of the ACFW Members Service Award in 2010. In 2012, Fay was also elected to serve as secretary on ACFW’s Operating Board. Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.


Not your typical Christian fiction.

Michael’s fiancĂ©e, Issie Putnam, was brutally attacked and Michael was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s home to set things right.

Two people stand in his way: Issie’s son, Cole, and a madman.

Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart and protect him from the man who took everything from Michael so long ago?

Because of Me is available through all fine book retailers, Amazon, and Mountainview Publishing, a division of Treble Heart Books.

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