It's key for characters. You get a couple good characters, give them some motivation, and throw them in a setting and plot will happen like crazy. I've always been far more character-oriented than plot-oriented, just because plot comes from characters, so you just worry about the one and the other follows.
But motivation takes some exploration to find. Right now, I'm still finding my characters' motivation. It's how I write. I just sort of stick characters together, let them interact, let them blather on about unimportant stuff, until I find something, anything that's important to them. You get those one or two things and make that character work for it. And it can change. It often does.
It's why my first drafts are so messy. I mean, it's said that you will cut out the first three chapters of your first draft. It's certainly true for me, since that's when I just sort of hash around and mess with everything. I never know what I'm doing going in. The first half of my NaNo is seriously just me poking things and seeing what jiggles.
So right now, I'm playing with the idea of motivation for my characters. My narrator is just sort of complaining right now, but I have an idea for future motivation for her. But as for my knight and his hedgehog, I'm sort of kicking around layers of motivation. I mean, the hedgehog wants to become a princess. However, that's not enough.
To continue my references to Princess Tutu, (I just rewatched it this weekend), there are several layers of motivation. It starts out simple: Ahiru wants to save Mytho. Everything she ever does is in pursuit of that goal. But as she continues to work towards that goal, she accumulates more goals. She wants to remain a girl. She wants to be with the people she loves. She wants so much more than just to save Mytho, even if that is her primary motivation. It comes down to the point where she isn't even sure if that, her original goal, is still want she wants anymore.
Plot unfolds from that.
So I guess I'll just be hashing around for a while, putting down as much blahsome as much as possible. The editing will come later, actually sorting through it all to find the awesome (or least sucky) hidden in there.