You should be able to isolate into two groups any leads which have continuity with one another. The starting circuit is likely to isolate to two leads, the running circuit may have two or more leads that show continuity. If the running circuit has more than two leads, you will need to determine how those leads are to be used for voltage or speed changes.
Here is where metallurgy comes into play. A motor rich in magnetically soft material will be more efficient, producing more work with less heat. And since the magnetic capacity of a motor also is influenced by the amount of active material (more core, more laminations), the tendency might be to try to add as much magnetically soft material to your design as possible.
Another interesting design is the brushless DC (BLDC) motor. The stator and rotor effectively swap over, with multiple iron coils static at the center and the permanent magnet rotating around them, and the commutator and brushes are replaced by an electronic circuit. You can read more in our main article on hub motors. Stepper motors, which turn around through precisely controlled angles, are a variation of brushless DC motors.
Occasionally, a technician or service person will ask me, "why not just increase the output by increasing the voltage (the current flow) to the motor?" While that may seem logical, increasing the voltage (in effect, creating an overvoltage situation) will not necessarily boost the output of the device. To understand why, you need to become familiar with a physical characteristic called "hysteresis loss."