Saturday, January 3, 2009

The "G" in GMC

Yep, I'm talking goals again. Not the annual kind, though. Nope, I'm interested in one of the three building blocks of good story.

Debra Dixon in her book, GMC Goal, Motivation & Conflict, states that readers expect a book to answer four simple questions:
  1. Who = character

  2. What = goal

  3. Why = motivation

  4. Why not = conflict

Sounds easy, right? Not for every writer.

Let's break it down a bit more. A character's goal is what she wants above all else in the story. A husband. Independence. To find her brother's murderer. A good goal will be something she doesn't have yet.

Debra Dixon says the best goals are the ones that are important and urgent. Ones that drives a character to act against her own best interest and endure hardship to obtain it. Something unpleasant will happen if she doesn't reach her goal. Amp up the volume of your story by making the goal urgent. Something that needs action NOW.

A character is much more interesting to a reader if she has both external and internal goals. Having both, creates an intriguing, multi-layered character. And it forces your character to make lots of decisions. Some will be good and some will be bad. The bad decisions create conflict. Readers love conflict.

Stay tuned for more on GMC!


Debra Dixon said...

Tracey-- Thanks for the promotion! Folks might like to know they can get the book at

Tracey Devlyn said...

You're quite welcome, Debra! Thank you for the reminder about how to purchase your book. It's a MUST for every writer's reference/craft shelf. Thanks so much for stopping by.