We were thrilled to have Debra Dixon with us on Monday, but interestingly enough the visitors who were in Seekerville that day seemed to fall into two groups: they were either GMC guru's or those who never pondered the pages of Deb's fabulous classic:
So I decided to share with you a little bit about why I love GMC.
1. GMC is a foundational plotting book. The beautiful simplicity of it is you're able to plug not only your hero and heroine, but also every single character in your book, including the villain into the GMC chart and VOILA! you have your internal and external conflict and your log-line. Amazing.
2. GMC explains GMC in detail even I can understand. (parenthesis phrases are my interpretation)
It begins with WHO. Your character.
Goal = What (what they want)
Motivation = Why (why they want it)
Conflict = The Why Not (what stands in their way)
From The Rancher's Reunion (Love Inspired January 2011)
Who: Will Sullivan, Oklahoma rancher.
External GMC: Will Sullivan wants to save the ranch that is his heritage but Mother Nature and a scandal threaten to destroy everything he's worked for.
Internal GMC: Will doesn't plan to ever marry because he may have another Sullivan legacy, but his love for Annie Harris stands in his way.
Log-line: A rancher must save the ranch that was left to him, while he battles with the knowledge that he can't tell the woman he loves how he feels because he may be carrying another family legacy.
There it is. See how easy?
Okay well, GMC does a much better job than I have of showing Goal, Motivation and Conflict with a detailed chapter for each topic using a universal book/movie, The Wizard of Oz to demonstrate. The back of the book utilizes a few more movie classics to demonstrate, including Ladyhawke, The Client, Star Wars, Casablanca and The Fugitive.
That's the basics, but GMC is stuffed with information on topics such as:
- Show Don't Tell
- The Black Moment
- Writing Scenes
- Basic Writing Tips
- Query Letters
- Turning Points
As a newbie writer (I bought this book in 1996) I starred many things in the book as light bulb moments -seriously, until this book, well, WHO KNEW?
- "The heroine's goal in a romance novel is not to fall and love and get married."
- "If you can see it, touch it, taste it, hear it, or smell it..that's external."
- "Learn to deliver back story through characterization and dialogue."
- "Motivation drives your characters."
I reread GMC yearly if not more often and every single time I go back to the book I uncover more nuggets of writing and plotting wisdom such as:
- "...the reader is supposed to identify and empathize with your character from the moment the character makes an entrance."
- "Urgency always pushes the plot and the pace."
- "The first chapter must establish what's at stake..."
- "First chapters are like a first impressions-you only get one chance. So don't blow it."
I'm barely scratching the surface of this excellent resource.
Keep in mind that Monday's post walked hand in hand with the basics of the hero's journey, which is a whole post in itself. But you can find more information by picking up Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, or Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey, or Chris Vogler and Michael Hauge's The Hero's Two Journeys.
Now if you're a GMC fan pull out your copy and share with us what pages of your copy of the book are worn and marked up.
And if you dare----share with Seekerville your Hero or Heroine's GMC. Internal and External.
If you're a clever reader, tell us the GMC of a character in a Seeker book you've read.
What's in it for you? Comment and you could win a copy of GMC or if you're a reader a surprise Seeker book. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.
If you don't win a copy, you can purchase your own at the Gryphon website, here.
Using GMC on my current WIP on the dry erase wall in my office.