A couple of weeks ago, at my critique group meeting, one of my fellow group members handed me back a hard copy of my piece after she finished giving me her feedback verbally. Across the top of the first page were these words: Too surface. No clear GMC.
“What’s ‘GMC?’ ” I asked.
“Goal, motivation, and conflict.”
“Oh.” Yeah, I can see how not having any of that could be a problem.
When I looked at the scene I’d written again, through my writing friend’s eyes, I could see what she was talking about and I also wondered how I could have missed it.
I’m working on a novel and this is not the first—or the second—draft.
Obviously, I’m in need of my critique group.
I think part of the reason that I haven’t seen what is so clearly lacking in my drafts before now is that I’m still feeling pretty overwhelmed by the whole idea of writing a novel. My goal has been to keep writing and to get to the end—with each draft.
Now, I realize, I can’t keep tweaking each scene superficially and submitting it. I need to step back and look at the whole picture and I need to look at each scene and make sure it works.
This may take some time.
And, I realize, that’s the biggest reason why I haven’t done it yet. But the longer I put it off, the longer my novel is going to stay an unemotional, passive piece of writing that no one would want to read, never mind publish!
I know I have the bones of a great novel, now I’m going to look for “GMC” in each scene.
- Goals: What is the goal of the scene? What is the goal of the protagonist in this scene? What is the goal of the antagonist?
- Motivation: What is my protagonist’s motivation for doing what she does in this scene? Why does she care about whatever is going on around her? What is my protagonist’s motivation in general? Why does she get up in the morning?
- Conflict: What’s the conflict in the scene? How is it resolved?
I just submitted another piece to my writing group and I’m hoping this one has a lot more “GMC” than my previous pieces.
I’m also going to go back to the beginning and complete a synopsis of my novel—I started one many months ago and found it very helpful, but I didn’t carry it through to the end of the novel. I think it will help me figure out the overarching goals, motivations, and conflicts of the novel, my protagonist, my antagonist(s), and every other major character.
Wish me luck.
How is your writing project going? Do you have “GMC?”
Diane MacKinnon: is a writer, blogger, mom, life coach, and family physician. Now that MasterChef is over, I can devote more of my evenings to writing!