Monday, May 03, 2010

Goals, Motivation and Conflict

I'm not really one for anachronisms. (Had to even look that one up to spell it.) But I won a really good book called A Novel Idea that was put together by all these best-selling Christian authors.

I wanted to save it for my plane trip (my looooong plane trip) but couldn't resist. Anyways, Jill Elizabeth Nelson mentioned something she termed GMC.

Goals, motivations and conflicts.

Let me backtrack here abit. When I wrote my first book, I hadn't a clue what when into each chapter. Just my story. That was it.

Second one. More of the same.

By the time I hit my third book, I was daring myself to study some of the chapter structure stuff even though I hated to read all those terms. Eventually I realized if I was going to improve, I needed to understand the bones of writing a book.

(Still groaning) I discovered that learning this stuff makes writing a book easier and makes for a better book. Yes, the pros know their work.

So now I have a way to remember if I'm doing what I should in each chapter.

What does the character want?
Why does he desire this goal?
What stands between the character and achieving the goal?

(Thank you Jill again.)

Maybe it's just me but when someone explains it this way--a bell goes off in my head. I get it.

What about you? Are you still fumbling in the dark without a writing formula or do you trust the experts?

Next time I post, it will be from rainy Seattle. Have a good week!
PS If you love Bread and Chipoltes--enter this contest here:)


Georgiana said...

I definitely keep absorbing whatever I can from the pros. This year I have started re-reading craft books for that reason. A Novel Idea is such a good book!

Susan said...

Hi Terri...How wonderful you are going to a conference! That's exciting. I've never been to Seattle. Have FUN!

Are you still working with the elderly? Just curious.

Take care and hope your Monday is fabulous. Sincerely, Susan

Julie Jarnagin said...

Sometimes, it helps me a lot to focus on this kind of thing. Sometimes, I get so hung up on it I can't write. I have to balance it or my head will explode.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Both. Let me explain. I go by that example you gave, but I also give my characters a lot of freedom. Sometimes they surprise me by doing some odd and unconventional things (as you've read) but it feels like the piece is more authentic and I'm not trying to smash it into a formula. So both.

I need to read that book!
~ Wendy

Lin Floyd said...

keep talking we're all learning...

Tamika: said...

I've been groping around in the dark for awhile, then I stumbled across some great craft books and wonderful blogs. Writing hasn't been the same since!

Andrea said...

I try to take in all I can from those who have been successful in their writing.

Love your new header.

Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

Jody Hedlund said...

Those first books usually just help spark our creativity, don't you think? Then after that we're more ready to start looking at the story bones and building a workable book.

Have a wonderful trip, Terri!

T. Anne said...

Great post! I'm almost headed into edits and I'm determined to give each chapter a mini climax and goal. I'm very excited this time around!

Jan Cline said...

It really makes sense when you put it into a few simple questions like that. Thanks and see you soon!

Diane said...

Praying a good trip for you! Sounds like you're learning lots. :O)

Melissa Marsh said...

Deb Dixon's book, GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict should be on every fiction writer's shelf. It is wonderful!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I love Deb Dixon's Book too. I like simple stuff like that, too. Anything too technical after that and I'm not going to remember.

Enjoy your trip!

Katie Ganshert said...

I love Debra Dixon's book! It was revolutionary for me. I love the new picture you have on top of your blog!

Beth in NC said...

Oh girl, if I EVER start a book, I am going to need to come back to your blog!

Cindy said...

I am slowly learning the formula. I used to think that the more books you write, the more experienced you were. But that's not true if you're writing without learning anything inbetween, if you're writing without improving on each book.

So I've been studying and reading and learning from others more and more to actually improve my writing. I heard about that book and it sounds great. You'll have to tell us more about it.

And have fun on your trip!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

While I read the craft books, sometimes a short nugget like the one you posted helps me the most.

Susan :)

Janna Qualman said...

Such important stuff to remember! Thanks!

Be safe, and have a wonderful time, Terri!

Jill Kemerer said...

Oh, I trust the experts, Terri! I was clueless for a year!

Karen Lange said...

I think I do some of each, actually, till I find the right balance. It works for my non fiction stuff pretty well, but haven't sold a fiction book yet, so will let you know how that turns out:)

Jan Cline said...

HI Terri, we stopped by to see your blog. Cant wait to see you on Friday. Blessings.

Jessica Nelson said...

GMC is a very useful tool.

Heather Sunseri said...

I haven't read that book, but will put it on my list. I definitely try to learn from the experts and put their knowledge to work in my books.

Sassy Granny ... said...

These sound like "novel" considerations for one's own life, as well as for penning fiction.

Stay dry, my friend; and be sure to eat LOTS of seafood!


Emily said...

A good reminder! I always have more to learn from the pros.

Enjoy Seattle. We were there a couple years ago and had a great time. I hope you do, too!

Nancy said...

I can see how that would help. If I write another novel, I'll have to check out that method of chapter writing as well as a lot of other things. Have a great trip.

Edie said...

Having structure is crucial to everything we do. It is the laying of our firm foundation.

Glad you made it to Seattle safely. Enjoy your stay!

sarah said...

hope you're having a ton of fun. About writing using for formulas...I've been taking a writing course and am really sad tonight is the last class...learned so much .

patti said...

Goal, Motivation, and Conflict drive my books. LOVE 'em all.