Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Searching for GMC

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. :)


Andrew Leon said...

LOL! You got me!
I'll start with Blue Valentine, then. I actually quite liked it, although I can see the issue you're talking about. However, the movie is really attempting to show real life, and, often, in real life, people don't have any real goals. And that is actually the conflict in that movie. Gosling's character is very talented. He's gifted as a musician and artist, but he has no ambition. He's satisfied with how things are. Williams' character, on the other hand, is ambitious. She wants more. And she wants Gosling's character to be more than he is, but she is unable to get him to pursue anything. This causes the slow disintegration of their marriage. As a character study, that movie is excellent.

Lynda R Young said...

My friends stopped watching movies with me because I analyse them to death. I've got my hubby doing it too now muwhahahaha. The GMC factor is so important.

Alyssia said...

@Andrew Yes, the movie does show real life, and I COMPLETELY agree with your assessment of each actor's acting skills. Both Ryan and Michelle are superb young actors with nothing but great roles ahead of them. I even told my husband: they played real people so well, it almost felt as if I was watching a home movie, you know? Like I was peeping or something. However, for a plot? I expected more.

@Lynda That is TOO funny! My hubby looks for The Black Moment in every film. And if it's not so easy to find, he stews over it for, like, hours until he figures it out. ;)

Andrew Leon said...

Hmm... I was actually talking about the actor's talents; I was talking about the characters. But no big. It's a hard movie to watch, and I appreciated it more in contemplation than I enjoyed watching it.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I haven't watched Blue Valentine yet. It's questionable whether I will.

I'm watching Kramer vs. Kramer (for the first time ever), so I will surely have to analyze it now; no choice! LOL!

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