I am talking about a fundamental writer’s tool. When I first started writing it was one of those things I ran across all the time. And I do mean all the time.
Goal – Motivation – Conflict
As writers we hear about this all the time. We look at our new WIP and ask the pertinent questions…
Who, what, why and why not.
Of course we have to know our characters. Who is this story about. I like to use character sheets to help me get to know these people talking to me in my head. Here is one of many, many sites offering these sorts of things… a character sheet. And a long one at that. I have read longer sheets, but landed on this one as the happy medium. The better we know our characters, the better we write their story.
What is the Goal of the main character. What does this person want? She has to want something she doesn’t have yet so badly that she will do a lot of stuff to get it. Good goals are important and urgent. We call the doing a lot of stuff ACTION, another important item in writing a good story.
Why is the Motivation for that goal. Why does the heroine want this thing? Why? It is something that pushes her out of her comfort zone and makes her do stuff to get that thing. A strong enough motivation makes her do stuff she doesn’t really want to do, but if she does it she believes she will get that thing she wants so desperately.
Why Not is the Conflict. The story must have things that happen to keep the heroine from that thing she wants more than anything in the world. Conflict is the obstacles that make her decide to do scary things as she tries to get to her goal because she has to have it. Conflict makes the story interesting and exciting and scary…
This is the nutshell of writing a good book. A very tight nutshell.
I’m reading Debra Dixon’s GMC Goal Motivation and Conflict. I’m ashamed to say, that though I have know of GMC for several years, I think it really has penetrated the thick layer of my grey matter and NOW makes perfect sense. I have to have it written out in very plain language and Ms. Dixon has nailed it for this dense dunderhead. Thank you!!
I know this is the basics of writing, but we can use a little reminder of the basics sometimes.