I have to keep reminding myself, when absorbed in my world of creative writing, that my reader needs to know, at the outset of character action: WHY? For example: “Why is it so important for three 8-year-old boys to be outdoors after dark, driven by a quest for adventure?” As the omniscient story-teller, I am acutely aware of character motivation. But my readers are not omniscient. If I don’t let my reader in on the secret, the story falls in the chasm between BOREDOM and CONFUSION.
For Dennis and Lee (characters in Boyhood Adventures) the motivation is evasion of that which they perceive as adulthood doldrums. Frank’s motivation (another character in the book) varies greatly from his two best friends He just wants to be a member of the crew. As boys, their perception of life is limited by their immaturity; something any parent can understand. The boys see their parents as being trapped in the snare of hum-drum living; without fun or excitement. While boyhood motives are simple, sharing them with the reader can be a complex endeavor. Establishing motive is not a thing I can simply blurt out with a megaphone. If I do it right, it will be artful, entertaining, and – on a really good day – embellished with humor.