Hopefully by now you're all familiar with Debra Dixon's smash-hit book "GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict." Throughout the course of the self-help wonder, Deb urges us to search for GMC in everything from movies to books, thereby teaching us to implement these important steps into our own novels. Select your favorite book off the shelf, read it again (because of course it's no chore, right? It's your fave!). Then, figure out just why it's your favorite. Characters? Yep. Plot? You bet. How the characters behave and grow throughout the plot? Now you're onto something.
Because here's the thing: EVERY great novel has GMC. Whether you want to admit it or not, it's there, it lives and breathes, and it's vital to the novel's success. Take one of my all time faves: Harry Potter. Now, let's get down to just one book: Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince. What was Harry's goal in that novel--his main goal? To prove Malfoy was truly up to something, ie. Death Eater business. All right, so, what was Harry's motivation? Malfoy's always been a stitch in Harry's side, right? They've never gotten along. Not to mention Harry saw him in Borgen and Burkes (strange & unusual store in Diagon Alley) with some pretty strange people. Great. And the conflict? Hermione and Ron, Harry's BFF's, think he's crazy. Malfoy couldn't possibly be a Death Eater.
|Ron & Hermione think Harry's a complete nutter for imagining|
Malfoy's a Death Eater, one of Voldemort's chosen.
Now, the GMC to this novel goes a great deal more in depth, but you get the general idea. There's also smaller GMC's during the course of the story. For example: Dumbledore hired Professor Slughorn for the Potions Master position at Hogwarts, because he wants Harry to find out the truth behind something very important he (Slughorn) told Tom Riddle (Voldemort) way back in the day, but it's not going to be easy because Slughorn doesn't want to give up the truth, so Harry has to become his friend, gain his trust.
See how that works? Smaller GMC's support the main GMC.
|Harry has to win Professor Slughorn's trust before he|
can obtain what Dumbledore needs.
Why am I talking about this today? I've been watching a lot of movies lately, searching for GMC in each and every plot. Last night I watched Blue Valentine starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Two superb actors in an independent film about marriage. I watched the entire film, beginning to end. Even hit the pause button for bathroom breaks. But at the conclusion, I literally said out loud, "Really? This got 7.3 stars on IMDB?" Why, you ask? The GMC was so weak. Two people, going through their rocky marriage, reminiscing on the good old days ever so often... But no real goal, motivation, conflict. I found myself scraping for what little I could find: Dean wants a good marriage, because he really is in love with his wife, but she's slipping away from him. Cindy wants a divorce, because Dean drinks too much, but she doesn't want to break up their family, therefore hurting their little girl. I don't know; I suppose I expected more.
Here's what I want you to do, gentle reader. Watch films (Andrew, you're already two steps ahead of everybody), find the GMC, think on it. Why did this work or not work in this movie? What would you have done differently? And if there's one you watched recently that really lit up your GMC stars, share it with us!
Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,
P.S. To all my wonderful fanfiction readers: Your next chapter is in the works. :)