I went to Tucson this weekend to see Wicked, the Musical. Wow, I loved the story. I hadn’t read the novel (I know, I’m sorry) but I think this way I was surprised at the ending and twists. I have read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, so I already know Gregory Maquire’s MO. I loved the twists in that book and looked forward to more in the musical this past weekend.
Although I loved the singing and songs (though not as much as Phantom, sorry folks) my favorite part of the entire show was the fact that it was a familiar story from an unusual POV with a few twists. This keeps your audience interested and on the edge of their seats. What if that character really isn’t so bad? What if that character isn’t as good as he appears?
Do you have characters like that in your writing? Do you have someone who appears to be on your MC’s side, but may not be? I love the idea that motivation is a major factor in any character’s actions and we, as writers, must determine what our character’s motivation is before building a plot. The reader must know why a character makes a choice because it makes all the difference. And if we don’t know, how can the reader? Case in point: The Wicked Witch of the West and her motivation for making the flying monkeys and becoming “evil.”
I don’t want to give anything away for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but I’m not spoiling anything by saying that you must have a clear motivation for your characters, but you must also keep your reader guessing. Make sense? See the musical, then get back to me.