This will be my last post on GMC. Sad, I know. If you’re interested in purchasing Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon, click on the link to purchase it. It’s really an eye-opening read.
I thought for my closing post, we could do a little recap.
G stands for goal. Every main character needs one. External and Internal. What does your character want? And what’s at stake if your MC doesn’t reach her goal? The higher the stakes, the better. (check out the G in GMC)
M stands for motivation. Every goal needs one. Why does your character want what he wants? The motivation needs to be believable. You can make your character want anything, as long as the motivation behind the goal is compelling. (check out the M in GMC)
C stands for conflict. Every story needs one. What stands in the way of your character reaching her goals? (check out the C in GMC)
Every scene you write needs to advance your character’s GMC in some way. If one of your scenes doesn’t address a G, or an M, or a C, then you must ask yourself, why is the scene in the book?
Some fun little, helpful add-ons Debra Dixon includes within the GMC chart are: a tag line and a dominant impression. She writes the tag line above the chart and the dominant impression below the character’s name.
The tag line is the overall theme, or message of the story. This can be stated in one sentence.
The dominant impression is two words – an adjective and a noun – describing the essence of your character. For the adjective, you want to avoid physical description. I love the dominant impression, because it’s an excellent two-word description to go back to when checking for character consistency.
Here are the examples Debra gives from the movie, The Wizard of Oz
Tag line: There’s no place like home.
Dominant impression (Dorothy): unhappy teenager
The GMC is the road map to your story, guiding you as you work through the plot. Once you have a strong, focused GMC, writing the elevator pitch for your novel is a piece of cake.
The basic outline of an elevator pitch: Character wants (goal) because (motivation), but (conflict).
Here’s an example from Beneath a Velvet Sky, my third novel:
An up and coming architect wants to associate herself with the innovation and grandeur she never knew as a child. But when tragedy forces her home, her ambitions are challenged by an estranged best friend, a farm she doesn’t want, and the handsome man who lives there.
Here’s an example from The Wizard of Oz:
An unhappy teenager wants to get home because her aunt is sick, but first she must fight a witch and win her broom in order to get help from the wizard.
I thought it might be fun to play around with some GMCs. Here’s the only rule: no using whatever you are currently working on. Make something up! Have fun! Think of something outrageous. Something heart-wrenching. Something absurd. What GMCs are rolling around in your mind today?
Here’s my crack at it:
Dominant impression: sensitive writer (AKA Jimmy John)
Goal: to win a pie eating contest and prove he’s a man
Motivation: to show his dad that skinny guys can eat too
Conflict: he has the appetite of a bird and he’s competing against his big, burly brother who has the appetite of a horse
Elevator Pitch: A sensitive writer wants to win the local pie eating contest in order to prove to his dad that he’s a man, but he’s never been able to eat more than a sugar snap pea without getting full, and he’s competing against his big brother, a world champion sumo wrestler.
If that’s not the next best seller, I don’t know what is. Have fun!removetweetmeme