Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Writer Basics: Goal

If you've never heard the acronym GMC, today is your lucky day. GMC or Goal Motivation Conflict is the foundation of any great story. Without it, your story will languish, rambling on until the reader passes out from sheer boredom. Trust me. You need GMC.

Let's start with Goal. What is it? How does it relate to your story?

GMC is character-focused and the Goal is what your character wants. It's what drives them, gets them out of bed, forms the decisions they make, colors their world. If your hero's goal is to become the best firefighter in his unit, then he's going to focus on doing everything he can to achieve that. But let's go deeper. Becoming the best firefighter is an external goal. Why does he want that? The answer is his internal goal. Let's say in this case, it's to impress his father who never thought our hero would amount to anything.

Do you see how those goals will drive our hero? What about our heroine? What are her goals? Remember now, we want them to work in some way (and by work, I mean provide conflict) with what the hero's goals are for the best possible storyline.

Let's say our heroine's goal is to uncover corruption in the local fire department. Why? Because she's the newest reporter at the town's newspaper stuck on obituaries when she really wants to do the hard stories. Now we have instant conflict. Especially when the hero and heroine begin to fall for each other.

Do you see how important goals are? Tomorrow we'll talk motivation. What are the goals of your hero and heroine? How do they work together? How do they create conflict?


  1. I got to hear Deb Dixon's workshop on GMC a couple years ago and it was a 'life-changing' moment as far as writing goes. I'll be back tomorrow to see your breakdown on motivation (my favorite) :)

  2. Hi Kristen :)
    Thank you for sharing your writing wisdom.
    I read this post 3x to let it sink in.
    All the best,

  3. Ooh, I need this now. :)
    Orginally I gave my MC a goal of wanting to please her parents (because she's pretty much a mess). But I felt it was too bleh and abstract. So I changed it a bit. She still wants to do that, but I also gave her a goal of wanting to keep her grandmother's house. (Her sister wants to sell it)

  4. Good stuff! Goals are really hard for me to come up with. Definitely my weakness.

  5. Great post. Internal goals are always my sticking point when starting a new story. Sometimes I have no idea until my rough draft is done.

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  7. I love it when you talk all smarty pants.

    Actually this was a big lesson for me, It also helped me realize I can't just pants my way through. Usually I can come up with a G, and sometimes the M, but the C is where I choke. Once I pinpointed it, I could tweak things for the h/h to make it a really strong C.

    Can't wait for tomorrows thoughts!! (does anyone else hear the tune Hot for Teacher?)