Tag Archives | Plot

Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

So…GMC. Maybe you’ve heard the letters bandied about—“Oh, my hero just doesn’t have a strong enough internal GMC.” Or maybe it’s all Greek to you. G = Goal. (What is it the character wants to achieve? Or what is the character wants to avoid?) M = Motivation. (Why does the character want this goal?) C = Conflict. (What stands in the character’s way? Why can’t the character have the goal?) There are two types of […]

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Writing Series: The Cliffhanger Dilemma

When it comes to series, people seem to either love or hate cliffhangers. I’ve always been in the camp that prefers a cliffhanger-free story. This doesn’t mean I expect all plot threads to be tied up in a neat bow by the final page, but I do expect the story’s main conflict to be resolved. Let’s quickly look at a graphic you’ve probably seen countless times before: The character starts out with some level of […]

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The Hero’s Journey

All writers are storytellers. Today’s bestselling authors share this with the creators of the ancient myths of human kind. In fact, the best stories seem to incorporate the principles of myth in ways that are dramatic, entertaining, and true to the human experience. Joseph Campbell was perhaps the most prominent “mythologist” of our time. In his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell distilled the components of the myths of widely varied cultures from all over […]

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Conditioning Forces – Or, your character doesn’t live in a vacuum!

In the 1951 play, Bedtime Story, by Sean O’Casey, the protagonist is faced with the goal of getting a prostitute out of his apartment before his roommate comes home. The character’s goals are founded on the fact that he is a devout Roman Catholic, feels terribly guilty, and doesn’t want his indiscretion to be discovered. Getting the prostitute out of the house without being detected becomes the main character’s all encompassing goal. The prospect of […]

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The Point When Everything Changes

Recently, I was obsessing over critically watching the fabulous TV show, Sherlock, and in the episode called “The Hounds of Baskerville”, Sherlock says this to his client: And what happened when you went back to Dewer’s Hollow last night, Henry? You went there on the advice of your therapist, and now you’re consulting a detective. What did you see that changed everything? And that simple exchange set me to thinking. In a novel, there is […]

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