Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Guest Blogger: Anna Kathryn Lanier on GMC
Goal, Motivation and Conflict
Yesterday, my newest story was released. A GIFT BEYOND ALL MEASURE is a sequel to my short story THE PRICELESS GIFT and it was a long time in coming. As soon as I finished The Priceless Gift, I knew I wanted to write Jacob's story. He's the brother of the heroine in The Priceless Gift. However, it wasn't an easy story to write. I had trouble with the plot, but finally, I did come up with a heroine for Jacob and a story line and I wrote the story. Then I sent it off to my editor.
She sent it back saying she loved it, but that it needed work. The characters were “two-dimensional.” I needed to improve the story and then I could resubmit it. I re-read the story. Wow! I thought I'd nailed it, but I hadn't. The hero, the beloved Jacob, had no GMC--Goal, Motivation or Conflict. He was just there.
Oh, I had given him backstory and he went through angst, but he didn't have anything that he 'needed' or 'wanted.' He didn't have a GOAL. He didn't have MOTIVATION. He didn't have CONFLICT. Aside from the fact the story took place in his house and he seduced the heroine, Tessa, there was no reason for him to be in the story.
Not exactly hero material after all.
To help me fix this major problem in my story, I pulled Deb Dixon's book Goal, Motivation, Conflict off the shelf and flipped through. For those who are not familiar with this book, I highly recommend it. Deb writes an easy to read and understand explanation of GMC.
So, what is GMC? In a nutshell--the hero needs a goal, something he wants or needs. Then he needs a reason, or motivation, for his goal. Then, and this is important, he needs a conflict that is stopping him from getting his goal. The more conflict stopping him from getting what he wants, the better.
It should also be mentioned that there is an internal goal and an external goal. Deb says, “If you can see it, touch it, taste it, hear it, or smell it…that's external….If the character has to feel it (experience emotion) then you're dealing with the internal side of your character.”
While I had given Jacob a wishy-washy external goal (buying a ranch), I had not given him an internal goal, or made the external goal worthy enough. I had to mold Jacob's backstory to form an emotional reason for his goals.
From the beginning I had it that he'd grown up on a ranch in Hawaii, but as an adult, had become a lawyer instead of a rancher. Now, he wanted to be a rancher. I realized in re-reading the story that I had to add layers of emotions and memories to feed into his goal. I was able to make the goal of a ranch both an external goal, and to an extent, an internal goal. He wanted what he missed the most--the family life he'd grown up with and missed greatly.
Cue the heroine.
Tessa jumped into the picture to give him part of his internal goal. As a cook for the ranch, she filled his home with scrumptious, home-cooked meals, just like his mother made. Enticing aromas filled the air and an enticing cook roamed about his house, bombarding him with emotions he didn't quite know how to deal with. He had to come to terms with his conflict of not involving himself with someone “more screwed up than he was.”
Once I added this layer to the story, my editor loved it even more and offered a contract on it, for which I'm really grateful.
A Gift Beyond All Measure is now available at www.thewildrosepress.com.
Arriving home for Christmas, the last thing Jacob Scott expects in his house is a sexy, shotgun-toting stranger. Worse, his attraction to her bothers him even more than the gun. Still reeling from the deception of his long-time girlfriend, he's not looking for romance.
Tessa Jones has learned one hard lesson--when everyone in your life has failed you the only one you can trust is yourself. Facing the whispers of the townsfolk and an arson charge, Tessa unexpectedly finds herself trusting Jacob with more than her legal troubles.
Struggling between the promise of the present and the hurts of the past, can these two lost souls overcome their pain long enough to discover a gift beyond all measure
To help celebrate the release of A Gift Beyond All Measure, I am giving away a free cookbook, full of many of the recipes Tessa cooks in the story, along with a handful of recipes from 'family and friends.' You can obtain a free pdf copy of A Gift Beyond All Measure Cookbook at my website, www.aklanier.com.
And, I am also hosting Holiday Cheer on my blog--a different recipe for holiday cheer every day through now and December 31, 2010.