Word Gremlin: I like this place you have here. Smells of tasty book dust.
Ink: Um… tasty?
Word Gremlin: The blog is good, too. Though all those electrons give the words a sort of burnt taste, like overdone microwave dinners.
Ink: You eat words?
Word Gremlin: I eat the good words and spit out bad ones. Don't worry, you probably won't know the difference. Editing is a lost art.
Ink: Sort of an ugly little fellow, aren't you?
Word Gremlin: Flattery gets you nowhere.
Ink: You're not eating my books. I need those words.
Word Gremlin: Key to fame and fortune, eh? You have some old short stories on file. They're bad. Trust me, you can spare them. I won't even mention the poetry.
Ink: Go haunt some other store.
Word Gremlin: I like it here. Ambiance. And you named the place after me. Inklings. That's me, an inkling. But you can call me Word Gremlin.
Ink: I can squash you with my boot.
Word Gremlin: I can eat your head.
Ink: It's not made of words.
Word Gremlin: Ha! Shows what you know. Trust me, I looked inside. Mostly words.
Ink: Go away. I wanted to work on something.
Word Gremlin: Probably something bad.
Ink: I read a good reminder post by Nathan Bransford about character motivation in fiction. I liked the stuff on the benefit of complexity in motivation, and wanted to elaborate on that.
Word Gremlin: Ooh, yes! You do that and I'll make me some Revenge Robots.
Word Gremlin: I love me some Revenge Robots.
Ink: What the hell is a Revenge Robot?
Word Gremlin: You know, writers want to write real people… and I just eat up some of those good words that create complexity. Who needs all that? Having characters with too many motivations is confusing for you dumb humans. Simplify, I say. One motivation! That's all that's needed. One motivation provides propulsion. Mmmm… propulsion. That one's tasty.
Ink: I do like that word…
Word Gremlin: You like it too much, frankly. My Revenge Robots will cure you of that habit, though. They will strike you down with their well-developed sense of vengeance.
Ink: So a Revenge Robot is a character with only one motivation…
Word Gremlin: Yup. Popular in action movies. "You killed my woman. I will now spend my entire life seeking vengeance and will not stop even to eat a sandwich."
Ink: That's terrible. You create propulsion but lose all humanity. Characters become like those celebrity cardboard cutouts you see in the mall advertising ugly and expensive things. Propulsion alone isn't worth that.
Word Gremlin: See, I said you use that word too much. But you humans are easily confused. Revenge. You can handle that. Revenge and other stuff? Nope. So I eat it up. Gastro-intestinal editing. I give back good words, though, like "Kill!" and "Villain!" and "Your mother!" Words like "subtlety"? "Nuance"? Very distracting. You don't need 'em and they taste so fine…
Ink: What are you eating, anyway?
Word Gremlin: A Danielle Steele. Tastes like bad sex.
Ink: Hey, someone would have bought that.
Word Gremlin: There's lots more where it came from. I hear they're replicating themselves exponentially. In 48 hours your store will collapse under the weight of poorly bound paperbacks. Just trying to help.
Ink: I should squash you with my boot.
Word Gremlin: Eat your head. Weigh the odds, homo sapwit.
Ink: I'm gonna hit you with a book.
Word Gremlin: I eat books.
Ink: A picture book.
Word Gremlin: You're cruel.
Ink: I don't care. I'm interested in trying to write complex characters, people who have a variety of motivations that shift and change from moment to moment according to the pressures placed upon them. Because it is human experience that shapes motivation, and if the events of the story are relevant to the characters it will affect and change them. It will affect not only who they are but how they approach the world. It will affect not only the motivations that drive their life but those that shape their immediate moments.
Word Gremlin: You forgot to use "propulsion".
Ink: Squash. You. Like. A. Bug.
Word Gremlin: I'm supposed to be scared of a man who uses the word "onomatopoeia" in general conversation? No one should use a word like "onomatopoeia" in general conversation.
Ink: Go away. I have some writing to do.
Word Gremlin: I'm glad you've decided to write the latest Revenge Robot thriller. Stupid humans everywhere will be happy.