A Day in the Life of a Writer: Back to GMC

I’ll be writing about how I’m using GMC, which I got from GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction by Debra Dixon  (Clean link)

I’ve begun working on my novel again, and recently had a breakthrough because of an app I found online that utilizes Dixon’s GMC. I dumped what I knew about my heroine into it, and came out with something I can work with. (I am waiting for this writer to get back to me with feedback. *ahem* ps: You did ask what character issues I’m having, Ms. Tammy.)

The GMC wizard was created by author Shawntelle Madison, and it’s on her site:
GMC Wizard

Plug your info in and go. Here’s what I got for my heroine. This is a work-in-progress, particularly the internal goal part. For some reason I wrestle with understanding that.
Name: Diana
Age: 35
Occupation: homeless. Previous occupation: ?
Basic Information: Sober b/c of dog Bart. Son died a few years ago & she is beset by guilt.
Eventually she will save Pax, hero’s nephew, which will release her from her self-imposed guilt-shackles.

GOAL forgive herself for the death of her son. own her own house where Bart will have a yard to play in.
MOTIVATION she will die on the streets if she doesn’t. He’s been beaten before and shot after she claimed him. She wants him to be safe so she doesn’t have HIS death on her conscience, too.
CONFLICT she keeps falling back on alcohol to drown out the pain. She has no job. She’s been out of work for years. She struggles with sobriety. She has no place to shower, even, and has no idea if she even HAS any skill sets. No confidence.

Another link I found useful has a blank GMC chart found here: http://www.midmichiganrwa.org/gmc-charts.pdf — 6 pages of character-building here.  RWA stands for Romance Writers of America, and it is one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my writing.

The key is to know your characters, which means you have to sit down with each one and listen to them. If you don’t, you risk writing your character into an unbelievable situation, or you risk pushing your character into unbelievable action.  For example, I know that my heroine, Diana, loves books, so while it is believable that she would be found digging in a dumpster to rescue a book, there is no way she would burn one to keep herself warm on the streets. She would burn a building first.

What would your character do/not do?


4 Commentsto A Day in the Life of a Writer: Back to GMC

  1. Tammy says:

    Very nice. And I am going to get back to you. Promise. Am looking into motivation and had a few questions for you. <3

  2. laurie says:

    you are motivating me–it really works–giving your character a goal, motivation, and conflict. useful post. laurie

  3. Mayra says:

    First off I want to say awesome blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind.

    I was interested to find out how you center yourself
    and clear your mind before writing. I have had trouble clearing
    my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.
    I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10
    to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any suggestions or hints? Cheers!

    • Stacy says:

      oh, wow. Sorry for this delay, and thank you for posting.

      We all have our different quirks, so I’ll tell you what I do, then I’ll suggest ways you can find what works for you.

      I write best with zero distractions. Even light distracts me. So: complete dark except for the screen, and I have earplugs in. I also have to have either tea or coffee nearby. Walking to the machine for another cup often throws me off, so I try to minimize any reasons I’d have to get up from my chair. I am also energized by the sound of typing.

      I have read suggestions from others about getting going. Here are some;

      + if you can’t get going, start with this sentence: This is the part where I write about [character] and how he [did something interesting] (fill in the blanks)

      + do morning pages, as Julia Cameron suggests. This scoops off the dross from the surface so you can write what is trying to emerge.

      + tell your inner critic that you’re only going to fool around for a few minutes, and then do just that. Just write a few sentences and then get up and do something else. Barbara Sher suggests this in her book–hmm. Not sure which one. Wishcraft, I think.
      Here’s a quick glimpse of her work: (clean link)http://barbarasclub.com/startdwlds/How%20To%20Get%20%20What%20You%20Really%20Want..pdf

      Being frozen in your chair is a sure sign that you’ve got the perfection bug. (I am intimately acquainted with this virus.)

      I also think that it’s a sign you’re not sure where your story is going.

      Here’s an amazing site that will help you sort things out: http://timstout.wordpress.com/story-structure/blake-snyders-beat-sheet/

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