Finding Motivation

Now that I’m digging deeper into Mara’s story, I need to figure out the motivation behind a major event in her life.  (It’s one that comes with a certain creep-factor, which makes the process unpleasant.)

As a day-old infant, she is sold to a “flesh trader” in exchange for drugs by her prostitute mother.  (I know, right?!)  This has very straight-forward motivation.  The problem is not her mother’s reasoning.

The problem is the cost of raising an infant, and the high risk of losing that investment.  I need to figure out why she is kept. I can see a slave trader taking an infant if he has a childless couple on the hook, wanting a baby, which is probably what I will include.  That deal will fall through, to make the story work.  Now I need to figure out why he invests in raising her rather than finding another (less savory) buyer.

Here are the reasons that I’m considering so far.  First, it’s possible that he forgets about her because she is a particularly quiet child.  His wife simply raises her with little notice until she’s old enough to be on her own and added to the rest of the collection.  Another option is that one of the adult women he has in his “stock” recently lost a baby, so he gives the baby to the woman to nurse and raise.  The third option is that he figures that he paid such a small price for her (comparatively) that it isn’t a big deal if she doesn’t make it.  In that case she’d probably be raised communally by the women he’s holding for sale.

The one thing I’m watching out for is a surrogate-mother situation.  I don’t want Mara to be attached to anyone as a child; this is an important part of her character development.

I have to admit, trying to get inside the mind of a slaver who sells children is not a pleasant task, and it’s creeping me out.  The sooner I figure this out and write the scene, the better.