Character GMC

I was recently having trouble trying to make an action fit a character, and someone said to me – what is there motivation.  And it gotMedusa me to thinking about what was motivation?

I had a look through various writer sites and come up with some very good information – including Pub(lishing) Crawl.  What I found were various different versions of the same thing, but this is how I interpreted it:

Motivation is what makes your character want to act the way they do.

Then I found out about GMC – Goal, Motivation and Conflict.  This makes Motivation make all the more sense.  This is how it works:

Goal is what the character wants – Esmeralda wants to know what true love is

Motivation is why they want the Goal. – Esmeralda has never experienced true love and at the age of 35 thinks it is about time.

Conflict is the obstacle that stops the character from achieving the goal. – Esmeralda is blind and unable to see, so nervous about meeting people.

How damned simple is that?  I really struggled with it, but when it is broken down like that, it is so easy to understand!  Durrr, blond moment (and I am allowed to have them, I am blond under all the dye!)

This GMC can be applied to scenes, chapters, the entire story, or just a part of it.  This is what makes the character more real, gives them a goal to accomplish, shows you what the conflict will be.  Remember one thing:  The character does not necessarily have to achieve their goal.  There may change their goal  – using the example above, Esmeralda’s dating experiences are all failures, and she is upset, and decides to spend the rest of her life on her own.  This could change again, when her best friend, a man with a badly burned face convinces her to give it one more try… with him.

The motivation is really the backstory, which you should have noted down on your character sheets, and yes, character sheets and backstory are REALLY important.  All together, these will give your characters well rounded histories, help you flesh them out as flawed humans that they are, and allow you to understand your characters better.

Have you ever completed a character sheet for your protagonist(s) and antagonist(s)?  Did you find them useful?  Do you use GMC for your writing?


Conflict… ummmm…

Life is full of conflict at the moment, and it is always something I avoid.  I find it hard to cope with yelling and screaming, and often turn a blind eye if I see or hear it, not because I don’t want to see it, but because I just can’t handle the memories that it brings up.

But enough about that, I am currently editing my Medusa story that I wrote in June, and I have a couple of conflict areas in it, and on reflection, they are rather fluffy – not deep and gritty and I am sure the reader would be left wondering… what happened?

How do I get passed my own internal conflict to work on the external conflict?  I guess I am going to have to be hard on myself and really feel the anger, frustration, rejection, hurt and pain and focus on those feelings while I am writing the conflict so that I can bring across the real emotion that is involved.

I am not looking forward to this process as I said earlier, I try and avoid conflict as much as possible, unless I am involved and then I enjoy a good screaming match, it clears the air and makes me feel better, even if I have hurt the other person, so that type of dealing with it is not going to work.  And I want the conflict to be subtle in one instance, where you don’t even realise that there is conflict until it is too late.

So, I guess I just have to steel myself and get ready for it, and just feel the fear and do it anyway!

Creativity Workshop – last review

Wow, hard to believe it has been three months, but it has been.

While I would like to say it has been successful, in some ways it was, but in others, it was far from it.  But I made it to the very end, even if only by the skin of my teeth!

My first block was on gothic tales, and I have one short story that is not completed.  While some might view this as a failure, I see it in a more positive light.  I now know what are the elements of a gothic story, and I am embarking on writing a Gothic Novel in October as part of the Gothic Novel writing month at Books Down Under.  I have the confidence now to write in this genre, and I have a relatively good story lined up too.

Next I focused on conflict, and various types of conflict.  I was writing on my SoCNoC Novel for KiwiWriters when I was doing this, so I incorporated this into my novel, and it worked.  I believe I have a better understanding of conflict within a story, whether it is situational, relational, intellectual, emotional.

My last group were themes, and I started by writing a novel with short stories, however the idea didn’t quite come off as planned, and will involve a bit more than just writing short stories.  It is something I wish to pursue, so watch this space.

Being a novellist, rather than a short story writer, I found the concept of writing one short story a week very tough, to the point that, while it was a great exercise, I think I will stick to my goals of one a month, and that way I won’t get burnt out and confused, or over stimulated.  As it is I have two novel ideas that are just vying for my attention, and no natural inclination to want to write at the moment.

I have enjoyed the workshop, and especially looked forward to the Saturday’s for the prompts, because some of them were so whimsical and amazing that story ideas just flowed.

Thank you very much Merilee for the time and effort you have put into sourcing the writers who have contributed to the weekly sessions and for your own writing and inspiring efforts.

Creativity Workshop – Where does the time go?

Another weekly review of my goals and what has happened to achieve them – Well pretty much nothing!

It has been a week of two halves, good and bad, fast and slow, writing and non writing days.  I did actually manage to write my piece about Survival Conflict, but it didn’t quite come out as I thought it would.  She seemed rather self centred, which was quite unusual as I had always thought of Medusa as a girl who had been wronged, but perhaps it was the betrayal by her beloved goddess that made her selfcentred and focused solely on what the implications were for her life, rather than the situation she was in.  I was pleased with the final product, but alas, I did not get to incorporate any of those lovely words that I had last week.

This week I am going to look at Situational Conflict where Medusa  is struggling with a situation — in this case, the character’s problems involve the interests, problems, ambitions and situations of others and their affect on the character.  The reason for Medusa’s downfall was because of the ambitions of the chief priestess, so this week seems like the right time to write the start of my story – yes, I have been writing it piecemeal, depending on how I feel.  The middle part is pretty much taken care of, just the start and the end that needs work.

I have also started thinking ahead to my next goals – themes.  Last night I had a dream about a hallway that was a portal and stopover for spirits moving from one spiritual plane to another.  The person who lived in the house met these spirits and learnt some life lessons from them as they passed through.  I have a cool title and everything, but I don’t think I will restrict myself to just 4 stories.  This one I think will take me through to the end of the workshop.  But that is next weeks missions.

I won’t be posting my usual Monday Goals thing tomorrow as I have an appointment in town, and I have no idea how long it will take me, so I will try and get something up by Tuesday anyway.  Until then, have fun writing.

Creativity Workshop – Survival Mode

Ok, so I have covered inner or personal conflict, and I have looked at relational conflict.  This week, I want to focus on Survival Conflict, which deals with the character  struggling with fatality.

How am I going to apply this to Medusa?  Well, I am at the point in my novel where she has been deserted on an uninhabited island, and she is all alone.  No one else there to help or assist her, and having led a sheltered life, she now has to survive.  If she doesn’t, she will die.  She is also facing more internal conflict because a part of her wants to die, but a part of her wants to live – so will be interesting to see how these will all work together.

Imagine that you have been put into a situation where you all of a sudden had to hunt and kill animals.  Would you be able to do it to survive, or would you just subsist on vegetation?  What about shelter, and clothing.  Will you have to make your own? Because your clothing will eventually become rags on you.  What about fire?  Do you know how to make fire without matches or a lighter?  Interesting things to be pondering.

Can anyone else suggest any other things that they would struggle with if they were deserted somewhere without any of lifes luxuries or conveniences?  What would you miss the most?

I will write this as part of my novel, because novels are a collection of short stories that all

work together to form a larger story.

Words for the week:

threnody \THREN-uh-dee\, noun:

A poem, speech, or song of lamentation, esp. for the dead; dirge; funeral song.

oleaginous \oh-lee-AJ-uh-nuhs\, adjective:

1. Having the nature or qualities of oil.
2. Containing oil.
3. Producing oil.
4. Unctuous; fawning; smarmy.

goad \GOHD\, verb:

1. To prick or drive with, or as if with, a goad; prod; incite.

1. A stick with a pointed or electrically charged end, for driving cattle, oxen, etc.; prod.
2. Anything that pricks or wounds like such a stick.
3. Something that encourages, urges, or drives; a stimulus.

swain \SWEYN\, noun:

1. A male admirer or lover.
2. A country lad.
3. A country gallant.

Manichean \man-i-KEE-uhn\, adjective:

1. Pertaining to a strongly dualistic worldview.
2. Of or pertaining to the Manicheans or their doctrines.

1. An adherent of the dualistic religious system of Manes, a combination of gnostic Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and various other elements, with a basic doctrine of a conflict between light and dark.

penumbra \pi-NUHM-bruh\, noun:

1. An area in which something exists to an uncertain degree.
2. Astronomy. The partial or imperfect shadow outside the complete shadow of an opaque body, as a planet, where the light from the source of illumination is only partly cut off.
3. The grayish marginal portion of a sunspot.

bathos \BEY-thos\, noun:

1. Triteness or triviality in style.
2. A ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax.
3. Insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness.

Man, these words are getting just about impossible!  I could threnody about them for some time, commiserating until goaded into action with my writing about oleaginous gods with swain like temperament, but with a manichean personality, but that could bring a penumbra to my story which could bring about a bathos!

Yip, I’m gonna need all the luck I can get for this weeks words!

Creativity Workshop – Just keeping on Writing

OK, so SoCNoC has officially began and I am writing like there is no tomorrow.  In three days I have clocked up 9000 words, which is impressive, but also within the goals I have set myself.

As far as the Creative Workshop is concerned, I did start my story this week on relational conflict – and it sounded great, but because of SoCNoC, I didn’t finish it.  But I did cover part of it in my novel, so I am happy with the work that I did achieve this week, even if it was another incomplete story.  I believe you have to look for positives in all of your half finished works or then you would not continue them.  This week is a week where I want to look at Survival conflict.  This is more to do with fatality than anything, but Medusa is put on a deserted island, and right now I am trying to focus on her basic survival.  We are talking about a pampered kid who is trying to remember how to start fire – in ancient Greece.  This will make life interesting I think.

Words for the week, well, I got two in, only because they were easy, so I need to pull my finger out.  But I can tell you, the words for next week – oh boy, I think there will be some fun in that!

Creativity Workshop – Conflict

For my next topic I had originally chosen to do Themes, but instead I have decided to do conflict, because I am feeling very conflicted right now, and that might help me to release some of this energy.

So what is conflict?  A dictionary defines conflict as:  (Verb) to come into a disagreement, be  contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; clash: to fight or contend; do battle.  (Noun) a fight, battle, or struggle, esp. a prolonged struggle; strife; controversy; quarrel: conflicts between parties; discord of action, feeling, or effect; antagonism or opposition, as of interests or principles: a conflict of ideas; a striking together; collision; incompatibility or interference, as of one idea, desire, event, or activity with another: a conflict in the schedule; Psychiatry. a mental struggle arising from opposing demands or impulses. (

OK, so pretty much, a conflict is anything where there is a disagreement, it can be internal, external, spiritual, emotional…

When I visited to find out more, they provided a slightly more interesting concept of conflict.  There are so many wonderful articles here about writing, that I have this permanently bookmarked.  This is what had to say about conflict:

Conflict is what makes a story worth reading. Without a struggle, a moral choice, tension, and opposing forces, a story would be nothing but a boring discussion of facts.

These are the Basic Types of Conflict in a Story:

  • Inner Conflict: The character is struggling within themselves, with what they want or what they do
  • Relational Conflict: The character is struggling with someone else
  • Social Conflict: The character is struggling with a group
  • Survival Conflict: The character is struggling with fatality
  • Situational Conflict: The character is struggling with a situation — in this case, the character’s problems involve the interests, problems, ambitions and situations of others and their affect on the character.

This is more about what I wanted to do.  And there are lots of areas where I can explore over the next four (and possibly more) weeks.  So this week’s goal, will be to study conflict and write a short story involving inner conflict – a struggle within ones self to accomplish or achieve something, a moral dilemma… lots of interesting ideas there.

Words for the Week

majuscule \MAJ-uh-skyool\, adjective:

1. Of letters written either as capitals or uncials.

1. A large letter, either capital or uncial, used in writing or printing.

tipple \TIP-uhl\, verb:

1. To drink intoxicating liquor, esp. habitually or to some excess.
2. To drink (intoxicating liquor), esp. repeatedly, in small quantities.

1. Intoxicating liquor.
2. A device that tilts or overturns a freight car to dump its contents.

habitué \huh-BICH-oo-ey\, noun:

One who frequents a particular place, especially a place offering a specific pleasurable activity.

plucky \PLUHK-ee\, adjective:

Having or showing pluck or courage; brave.

baksheesh \bak-SHEESH\, noun:

1. A gratuity, present or tip.
2. A gratuity, tip, or bribe paid to expedite service.

1. To give a tip.

suspire \suh-SPAHY-uhr\, verb:

To utter with long, sighing breaths.

Phlegmatic \ fleg-MAT-ik\, adjective

1. Not easily excited to action or display of emotion; apathetic; sluggish.

2. Self-possessed, calm, or composed.

3. Of the nature of or abounding in the humor phlegm.

Definitely an interesting mix in there.  Now, to get the thinking cap on and start creating a story…