question for my sga peeps

He would willingly die for any innocent, but for his team, for Atlantis, he would destroy himself and do it with a smile. --This, for me, is the essential core of John Sheppard. Behind everything he does or says (in my version of things, anyway), this is the main motivation. Oh, there are other bits that are important: he's a flyboy, a not-so-closet geeky goof, more comfortable expressing his feelings with actions than with words, etc. But many of those things are somewhat dependent on circumstance, and are descriptors, not driving forces.

I'm not sure about the other characters. Teyla's is bound up with the preservation of the Athosians, I think, but as I said. *shrugs*

What motivations/core essences do you see driving/defining the various characters? Particularly through season one?

In related matters, I think I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year, but instead of starting yet another novel that won't make it past a couple thousand words, I'm going to work on plowing through Things Already Seen. Which is technically against the rules, but I'm not planning on claiming victory or whatever--I just want to get this thing written, and I'm hoping NaNo might help me stay focused. Give me a writing schedule, that kind of thing. Here's hoping, because I'm tired of having stuff just sit and stare at me.
I'm not sure what Rodney's motivations are. Definitely pursuit of scientific knowledge. After he discovers family in Atlantis his other motivation is to protect his newly found family.

Hm. So maybe the need to not fail those depending on him? He's the guy who's expected to always pulls the rabbit out of the hat, even when he doesn't have either--and he does it even while protesting that he can't.
exactly! Don't forget that he has to live up to his own self image as "the smartest man in two galaxies."

I feel Rodney one of those who, on the outside, pushes people away because it's easier than dealing with them and the complications that comes with dealing with them. On the inside - as cliche as this may sound - he wants to be loved, but either doesn't realize it or won't admit it. I think he's a lot nicer than he lets on - at least that is my view of him in canon, which is why I think I tend to write him nicer than he probably is (although that has just as much to do with me being unable to write him as heavily abrasive, as it makes me not like him. But I also like showing his softer side since he does have one).

Ronon is simple. He lost his world, lived his life on the run. Sheppard and Atlantis saved him so he's completely loyal to him. Most especially Sheppard.

Teyla I have difficulty with as well. I think she' a very hopeful person, and that what she does isn't just for her people but for the entire galaxy. She's fed up living in fear, so is doing what she feels it will take to make the galaxy a better place - even if that means having to be apart from her people.

Anyway, I don't know if that is stating the obvious, but it's my thoughts on the rest of the team. The others - Elizabeth, Carson, Radek - I'd have to get back to you on them.
She's fed up living in fear, so is doing what she feels it will take to make the galaxy a better place - even if that means having to be apart from her people.

That seems like a pretty good summery of her motivations--for her, the expedition's not just an ally, but the potential defeat of the wraith and freedom for the whole galaxy.

I wish I could include Ronon somehow in Things Already Seen, but I don't think I can manage it plausibly.
I'm with you on the mysteriousness of Teyla's motivations - I'm never quite sure how to balance her loyalty to her people and her faith/loyalty in the Atlanteans (and maybe she's just as confused, underneath). She was raised to be a leader, to be strong and a source of wisdom - perhaps there lies the key to her motivations.

Ronon, I think, starts out simple. Having lost everything, his first goals post-runner can be as simple as revenge against the Wraith - the total destruction of their species. But, as time wears on, I like to think that his goals change. He begins to allow himself to think past the next Wraith kill, and in the process, reveals the man he once was, the Satedan. There's an idea floating about fandom that Ronon has taken Sheppard on as his new taskmaster, or whatever the term was, and while I haven't drunk that particular flavour of Kool-aid yet, I think the idea is intriguing. What did Ronon live for on Sateda, and how is that seen in his behavior on Atlantis?

I think Rodney's a lot more like Sheppard than he would like to admit. Sheppard may defend Atlantis, but Rodney protects her (and no, I'm not sure what that distinction means yet). The current eidos of Atlantis, with its people and its purpose, is the healthiest food that Rodney's soul has ever had, and he wants to preserve it, even if it means giving up his academic dreams (I'm thinking of the Last Man in particular here).

That's the distinction I guess I would make between Rodney and John, I guess - John is about people, his team. While Rodney loves his team, he is about something a little less tangible, perhaps the city as a whole; in a way, his burden is broader than John's, though John's is heavier. (again with the distinctions that I can't explicate!)

I hope my rambling helps. And goodness gracious, I love your John, madly and deeply. He just needs huggles, like, all the time.
That's the distinction I guess I would make between Rodney and John, I guess - John is about people, his team. While Rodney loves his team, he is about something a little less tangible, perhaps the city as a whole; in a way, his burden is broader than John's, though John's is heavier.

Hm. I actually think I'd swap that around (maybe? as you say, it's tricky). John cares deeply (perhaps a little too much) for those he considers "his", but when he knows that he has to sacrifice someone for the sake of everyone else, he'll do it. I'm thinking specifically of the whole Elizabeth thing at the beginning of season 4(?), where John makes the call not to use the nanotech to save Elizabeth and Rodney does it anyway, but I think there are a couple other examples of this that I just can't recall at the moment.
Love your concept of John. He's one of those deeply loyal people who strikes me as being scared of loss. I know we all are, but John's almost obsessive about it. He would fly a nuke-loaded jumper into a hive ship to protect those he loves. A striking image to me is in Lifeline when Ronon is dragging him by the vest away from Weir as she's ordering him to go. But in Childhood's End, he says it would take A LOT for him to sacrifice his life for something. It isn't until The Siege that we see him actually do it (or attempt to).

Teyla - her reason for staying on Atlantis instead of leaving with her people in Suspicion (I think) was that she could do more for her people in the fight with the Wraith by staying. Her focus is always what is best for her people. She repeats this again in Reunion when Ronon tells her he is thinking of leaving. She chooses to stay on the team after Torren is born for the same reason. Ronon tells Sheppard in The Return that he has to stay in Pegasus until all the Wraith are dead. I think Teyla feels the same way.

Ronon - vengeance motivates him. He wouldn't leave Sateda in S3's Sateda until he'd killed the Wraith commander who had captured him and made him a runner (who must have been the one to destroy Sateda as well). He won't leave Pegasus until all the Wraith are dead. I don't think he views Sheppard as his new taskmaster. Putting himself under John's command allows him to fight the Wraith with much more superior power than he'd have on his own. Even then, he's willing to leave the team when he finds his former Satedan team because of his loyalty to them. I think Ronon prizes loyalty and honor above all things - even killing Wraith. If Sheppard betrayed Ronon in any way, Ronon would be gone.

Rodney - I find Rodney to be the most complex. When we first meet him (back in SG-1) he is all about cold, scientific fact regardless of the consequences (Teal'c dying). He seems to be a coward yet he willingly steps through a stargate on a probably one-way trip to a distant galaxy because the possible scientific discoveries outweigh his fear. Yet in the second episode, we seem him step forward into that energy creature, risking his life to save the city. We see him again in the first timeline in Before I Sleep, sacrificing his life to save the others. Over the course of the seasons, he learns to listen to others, to value life. He says in Trinity when Collins dies that knowing he unknowingly sent Collins to his death is something he'll have to live with for the rest of his life. In S4's Trio, he says that Katie deserves someone better than him. S1's Rodney wouldn't have considered that there could be someone out there better than him.

Ford - you mention S1 so I'm assuming you're setting your story then which means Ford instead of Ronon. Ford was young (25 I think) and eager. He wants approval. He's incredibly curious. But he's tough and well trained (great hand-to-hand - see The Brotherhood). Basically, once the influence of Sumner's disapproval is removed and he sees what Sheppard can do and what his heart is, Ford wants to be Sheppard. He's not impulsive. He's brave and observant, and he's not afraid of taking command if he needs to. I think his basic motivation is to please his superiors and to protect those he's sworn to protect. As a Marine, he would take that very seriously. Marines typically make fun of Air Force, but Ford knows enough about Sheppard by The Eye to know that Sheppard will be the one taking out the other dots. If Ford heard one of the men making fun of zoomies (AF) he'd come down hard on them.
...I keep trying to respond to this comment and then keep getting scared off by how comprehensive an answer it is to the question. (Yes, I am ridiculous, I know. Sorry.)

Um. John. I think the thing is that although he's willing to sacrifice his life, he's not going to simply throw it away. He has to believe there's either a possibility he'll survive or a certainty that there's no other way.
KERAS: Would you not willingly give your life if it were necessary?
SHEPPARD: It'd have to be really necessary.

Of course, what he considers necessary doesn't always align with what those around him consider necessary.

Her focus is always what is best for her people.
Yes. This is it exactly, I think, which is why she would never seriously consider doing something like going with the expedition when they got kicked out of Atlantis in The Return. They're her friends and perhaps even surrogate family, but the Athosians are her people and her duty lies with them.

I wonder if part of what drives Rodney is the need to be valued and recognized for his genius? He certainly makes sure everyone around him is aware of it....

And I think you wrote my character summary for Ford, whom I've always felt very unsure of. (I started watching the show at season 2 and didn't go back to season 1 for years, so Ford's always sort of been 'crazy druggie' to me, even though I know that's not fair to the character. One of my goals for Things Already Seen is to explore and develop his character more, particularly since he'll have Sumner to interact with as well.)