The Teacher is Talking: The Winner’s Brain–Motivation

By Leslie Lindsay

Am I a “winner” because I spent the majority of my “free time” (i.e. kid-free) whacking bushes?  Well, perhaps I am.  At least according to “The Winner’s Brain:  8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Succeess” by Drs. Fenske and Brown (Harvard Press, 2010) who suggests that motivation is one of those 8 strategies.  Here’s how it works:

I am motivated to trim my bushes with an electric trimmer that my neighbor loaned me.  You see, I was out over the weekend painstakingly trimming them with this large pair of scissors–you know the kind?  It was taking forever, but in a weird way, it was kind of satisfying.  I knew all about the electric version, it’s just that we don’t have one (ask my hubby, it’s his “rule.”)  But then, after Mr. Chin showed me how….it started raining.  Hard.  We packed up and headed back in.  Today–finally warm and sunny–I headed out to get the job done.  I wanted to return the Bushwacker promptly as any good neighbor would do.

You see, not only was I utilizing “win factor” #2: motivation, but also #3: focus (more on that next week).  Motivation, according the authors of the book is a force that, “Flows through you like phases of an electrical current.  In Winner’s Brain, motiviation allows the individual to glide right over obstacles that often stop less determined people cold.  It helps them push through challenges even when there is little external impetus to spur it on.  Motivation primes the brain to see rewards even when they are a long way off, and, indeed, even where there are no guarantees those rewards will ever come.”

Here’s your chance to win a FREE copy of “The Winner’s Brain:”  Be the first to write a quick comment on the blog about what motivates you to be a better parent.  The first serious comment to come my way (based on time and date stamp) will be the winner…whose motivated?!? (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Thanks for being a loyal reader and good luck! 

Product Details (image retrieved from 5.8.12)

The Winner’s Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success by Jeff Brown, Mark Fenske and Liz Neporent (Mar 22, 2010


Write on, Wednesday: Developing Characters

By Leslie Lindsay

I have been reading these great books from Writer’s Digest Books, their “Write Great Fiction” series.  In this particular title, Characters, Emotion, and Viewpoint:  Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints (2005), the author Nancy Kress gives us readers (writers?) a checklist for developing characters.

Here it is:

  • Your four sources for drawing characters:  yourself, people you know, strangers you hear or read about, and pure imagination.  Modify them if they are you, people you know, even strangers to some degree.  Don’t make it too transparent.
  • List of potential characters?  Choose a protangonist. 
  • Now, study your “cast of characters.”  Are they interesting?  Diverse?  Are you excited to write about them?  Do they connect to your protagonist in a realistic manner?
  • No matter how much backstory is presented in the narrative, you should have a clear picture of each character’s past. 
  • Your character’s motivation should grow out of his/her backstory.  More unusual motivation–>more backstory.  (helps create emotion)
  • Interesting characters hold conflicting values and/or desires.  “Help” readers select the character’s personalities and belief systems
  • Your character(s) “ought” to make some changes in her belief system as the story progresses, but they need to perhaps reach the goal, or decide on a new one.  Changes must seem plausible in light of story events
  • Humorous characters are created through exaggeration, ridicule, and reversal of expectations.  Mild–medium–or outragous form, depending on the effect you are going for

Good luck and have fun crafting your characters…write on!