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INNER DRIVES: What's My Character Motivation? "Marilyns, Moms, Muses"

[Based on Pamela's book for screenwriters, directors, actors, and designers Inner Drives: Create Characters Using the 8 Centers of Motivation (chakras) published by Michael Wiese Productions and available at The Writers Store.]


You know how when you make changes in your personal or professional life, not everyone is comfortable with it? Some people still treat you like the “old you.” Others actively try to get you to go back to how you were. In a good story, those same dynamics can create dramatic conflict.

Just as the Peter Pan syndrome generally applies more to males than females, so also there are a couple of patterns that tend to affect females in their romantic relationships.

  • As a Marilyn (after movie star Marilyn Monroe) a woman is sexy, sensual, seductive, romantic...Sacral.
  • As a Mom she becomes the caretaker, protective of the offspring, possibly demanding, possibly the martyr, and depending on the size of the family and her own attitude, either Lower Solar Plexus or Aspirational Solar Plexus.
  • As a Muse she is the elusive, often ethereal yet passionate inspiration for Throat Center creativity, her own or others’.

Problems can occur when someone has begun a relationship in one Center and then moves or is forced into one of the others.


Too often in so-called ‘love relationships’ the people involved don’t see each other as unique individuals with a rich panoply of characteristics. Rather, they pigeonhole the Significant Other into a proscribed role and insist they stay there.

ScriptMag Col 10 - Marilyn

Notice that most love stories end at the wedding, before any ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ details of domesticity and parenthood can take the bloom off the romance. You can tell a woman’s gone from Marilyn to Mom when her comments about her man change from, “Oh, he’s so hot, he makes my toes curl!” to “All men are just little boys.”

The “Other Woman” is usually a Marilyn or a Muse. Most women in a relationship will admit they fear their partner’s involvement with the latter more than the former. The reasoning goes that sex is easy to get, and love is, thank goodness, relatively common, but a passion that also includes the mind and higher emotions is rare and precious.

Traditionally the Courtesan has been a glamourous combination of the Marilyn and the Muse, a Renaissance Woman who includes sexual skills in her repertoire of knowledge. See Dangerous Beauty for well-done examination of Marilyn, Mom, and Muse dynamics and conflicts.

In Varun Khana’s film Beyond Honor, heroine Sahira is a medical student trying to express a healthy Sacral/Throat balance within a repressive cultural system that denies the Sacral with horrific cruelty.

The Muse herself is in a perilous position, up there on that pedestal. If she maintains the role, all that gets kissed is her feet. But sometimes the Muse combines the Sacral and Throat Centers. Shakespeare In Love ends with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Viola leaving the country, thereby assuring her unobtainable Muse status in young Shakespeare’s pantheon.


Typically, as your character shifts from Marilyn to Mom she might cut her long hair, lower her skirts, and raise her neckline. Often her partner demands these changes from seductive to sedate.

A Mom going Muse could take up music or art, often ignoring the house-keeping.

A Muse gone domestic (ASP) could go from eccentric to conservative, from creative to practical.

A Mom wanting to regain or explore the Marilyn mode might hire a babysitter and make forays into sexy underwear or role-playing.

Remember to use all the clothing, foibles, foods, styles of speech and action, and other characteristics of the different INNER DRIVES to dramatically illustrate your character’s changes.


You want your main character(s) to change and grow, but as they follow their own development arc, remember to show both the internal and external effects.

Get inventive with the Marilyn/Sacral, Mom/Solar Plexus, and Muse/Throat paradigms. Break through the stereotypes and offer us new ways to experience the various Centers and the dynamics between and among them within an individual.

Explore positive new ways for us all to relate to each other. Which is not to say you can’t still have fun showing us the ways that don’t work. After all, tragedy and comedy can both be as effective in getting across your mythical, social, and artistic themes.


Awareness Exercise

Identify a real-life female going from one chakra level to another among the Sacral, Aspirational Solar Plexus, and Throat Centers.

Name a different story character on each of the three different Centers.


Writing Exercise

Take one of your female characters and move her from one of the M-M-M Centers to a different one. Show how another character reacts to that, either positively or negatively.


Pamela Jaye’s books and seminar CDs can be found at The Writers Store and on her website MYTHWORKS. To learn more about her consulting, writing, and pitching services, visit the MYTHWORKS website.

This article in the Writers Store gives an overview of the chakra system and its relevance to media.

Enter the Hollywood Writers Contest with your story idea. The winner’s story will be turned into a screenplay by Pamela Jaye and pitched by her PitchProxyPros company at the Great American PitchFest. Winner receives a trip to L.A. and to Tippi Hedren’s Shambala big cat reserve [part of the entry fees are donated to Shambala].

BOOKS & SEMINARSInner Drives / The Power of the Dark Side / Symbols.Images.Codes / Beyond the Hero’s Journey / Show Me the Love! / Alpha Babes / ArchePaths / Warrior Way for Filmmakers and many more.

© 2014 Pamela Jaye Smith

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