January PANorama – Goal, Motivation & Conflict

Dear Readers,

It’s the last Sunday of the month, which means that it’s time for one of our chapter PAN members (PAN stands for Published Authors Network, a professional designation within RWA open to members who reach a certain level of sales) to visit the blog to share some of their wisdom and expertise.

This month, Samanthya Wyatt is here to inspire us with some thoughts on goal, motivation and conflict, otherwise known as GMC.

Take it away, Samanthya!

Goal, Motivation & Conflict

Author Photo SW

~ By Samanthya Wyatt

I must admit, when I started writing I had no idea what GMC meant. So I took a workshop and learned that if you want to write a story and you want to be published, your story must have GMC or you’re sunk.

GMC brings your characters to life, makes them real, and moves the story forward. The more you know your characters, the more memorable they become. My goal has always been to bring the reader into the story and get them involved with the characters. GMC is the key. Each major character has their own goal, their own motivation, and usually resolving a conflict is what brings the hero and heroine to a satisfying conclusion.

What are these three things?

  • Goal is your character’s call to adventure. What the character wants. What most characters will do anything to get. Did you know there are internal and external goals?
  • Motivation will drive the hero or heroine to achieve their goal. Why are they so desperate? Why do they want what they cannot have? The more you know about your character’s motivation, the deeper you can relate that into your story.
  • Conflict will make the goal seem impossible. What keeps the characters from obtaining their goal.

Since this is not a workshop, I am giving a summary regarding GMC, instead of going into deeper detail. I cannot express enough how the GMC workshop helped me as a writer. Helped me to understand what could make a good story great.

Challenges and obstacles keep our characters from reaching their goals, and hindrances make for a suspenseful story. Could make a heartbreaking story. Our characters will work harder, survive those hurdles, maybe even deal with heartache and pain. When a reader knows what drives our hero and heroine, they get deeper into the story, become involved, and cheer the characters on. Even get mad when obstacles are thrown at them. The reader wants so bad for our characters to achieve their goal.

How to achieve this? Get to know your characters. You can do a character sheet, but one idea is using a GMC worksheet.

I use excel. But if you’re not familiar with excel, you can still do a breakdown. Do one section for the hero and one for the heroine. If you want, you can do other important characters, maybe a villain if there is one (the other woman who is always causing trouble).

Hero / Heroine – break down in three parts: Goal-Motivation-Conflict. He will have an external goal and an internal goal. Here is where it gets tricky and why I suggest you take a GMC class. As a fresh writer, it took me a while to figure out the difference. Once it finally clicked, I developed a new understanding of creating my books. So much easier when you have the knowledge of how things work.

Filling out a GMC worksheet helps to solidify the characters and sometimes forms a plot. If you already have a plot, it can change the course of your story. More obstacles, scrapes, skirmishes, all sorts of brainstorming ideas.

A final note, GMC will add depth to your characters. Take it from me, if you understand your characters, it will be much easier to write their movements and make their actions more believable. The more you know their goals and why they need this goal, why they act the way they do, you will be able to show more depth in your writing.

Keep the Spirit!

Samanthya Wyatt

Author of sizzling romance, Samanthya Wyatt currently has books published in contemporary and historical romance. She married a military man, traveled and made her home across the US and abroad, and now lives in the Shenandoah Valley. She loves the beach, her favorite color is blue, has a weakness for vanilla ice cream, and a book is a constant companion.

2 thoughts on “January PANorama – Goal, Motivation & Conflict”

  1. Nice synopsis of GMC, Samantha. I’ve taken a number of workshops on this topic and what you can learn about your characters through this one principle is never ending. I especially recommend Debra Dixon’s book or workshop on the topic. Thanks for sharing!

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