Friday, February 12, 2010

Writer Basics: Conflict

So for the last two days we've talked about the Goal and Motivation part of GMC. Today we pull it all together with Conflict.

Conflict can be described as "If she wins, he loses. If he wins, she loses." Conflict and plot are closely tied together. And if you add in an element of time, you can really ramp things up.

Let's say our hero, who is on his way to becoming the best firefighter in his unit, and our heroine, who is working on uncovering corruption in the fire department, have begun to fall in love.

Now let's amp things up. Our hero suspects that the heroine's suspicions are well-founded, but helping her uncover this corrupt will destroy his career. And if our heroine writes her expose, the hero will be lumped in with the other guilty firefighters, tarnishing his good reputation and failing to win his father's respect. If the heroine doesn't write her story, she'll be relegated to soft news and never feel like she measure up to her sister's success.

Now, what if the heroine's position at the paper is provisional? What if she only has a month to bring in a great story or lose her job? See how the time element can really take things to the next level?

What's the conflict in your story? Can you find a way to increase it?

I hope this discussion on GMC has been helpful! Any questions? Comments?


  1. great recap!

    My current WIP probably was the first one that I sat down and figured out the GMC.
    Before, I sort of fell into it near the end, and had a lot of revising to do.

  2. Well, I need to take a look at my conflict a little closer, I think. I have it, but I think I need to dig a little deeper for the motivation.

  3. This has been great thanks!

  4. It took me a while to figure out that when we, as writers, talk about conflict, we're not talking about a disagreement over who pays for dinner. Like you said, Kristen, it has to go deeper than that. If she achieves her goal, he loses. If he achieves his goal, she loses. The stakes have to be high enough to carry the story.