Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Writing Tip Wednesday--GMC

This topic is a huge one for writers, and I'll say right off that I can't begin to cover every detail of GMC in a single blog. I'm going to stick to the basics here. I highly recommend buying/borrowing a copy of Deb Dixon's book on GMC--Goal, Motivation, and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction. It's a great resource for all fiction writers, even those of us who are pantsers and plantsers!

Goal--What are your characters' goals? Define them, whether in your head or on paper. They can be general or specific, but they have to be part of the plot or subplot.

Motivation--Why does your character need to achieve this goal? What's in it for him/her? Does a past experience influence this motivation? Or maybe his current situation drives his need to accomplish his goal.

Conflict--What events will happen to prevent the character from reaching his/her goal? These can be internal and/or external. Internal conflicts provide the character with room to grow (the character arc) and a struggle against himself. External conflicts are outside influences that can directly or indirectly affect his path toward the goal.


Heroine, Sarah, wants to prevent her mother from remarrying.
Hero, Hank, wants to turn an empty factory into condos.

Sarah believes the man is marrying her mother for money and property.
Hank thinks the building is an eyesore and can be put to better use. Plus, he could make some money to pay off his divorce lawyer.

Hank's father is the man who wants to marry Sarah's mother. (external)
After seeing the couple together, Sarah thinks the man might actually love her mother. (internal)
Sarah's mother owns the empty factory. (external)
Sarah is concerned the marriage is simply a way for Hank to get his hands on the property. (internal)
Sara wants her mother to donate the empty factory to the town for a new library. (external)

Do you get the idea of how GMC works?

Plotters, this process fits in with your outlines, character bios, story boards, etc.
Pantsers, be sure GMC is a part of your story as it unfolds.
Plantsers, use whatever combination of plotter and pantser tools you need to let that story tell itself.

Remember--without GMC, you have a series of unconnected events happening for no apparent reason!

Now I need to plant myself in my chair and write!!! Pacing is up next week!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!


  1. Good one, Mellanie. I am sure there are other writers out there like me who know what they want the end to be but have problems fitting motivation to that ending.

    1. That's the hard part, Jennifer! Thanks for stopping by! :)