If you’ve been around writers for a while, you’re probably familiar with Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Debra Dixon introduced the concept in a 1996 book by the same title. Since then it’s been used by writers everywhere as a handy tool to develop layered, lovable, believable characters.
In a nutshell, GMC asks three questions about our story characters:
- What do they want? (Goal)
- Why do they want it? (Motivation)
- What’s keeping them from getting it? (Conflict)
But what if we applied GMC not only to our characters, but to ourselves? Author Claudia Welch proposed that idea to writers in an article called, “Protecting the Girl” in the Romance Writer’s Report. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
How would things change, how would WE change, if we took the time to ask ourselves some hard, honest questions in relation to the various roles we fulfill in life?
Try it. Find a quiet corner, pour a cup of coffee or tea and take each of the hats you wear, one at a time, and ask yourself, as a (writer/artist/mother/spouse/friend/employee):
- What do I want?
- Why do I want it?
- What’s keeping me from getting it?
The answers may surprise you. We all want different things. Often at different seasons in life. And almost always, for different reasons.
Ideas and insights are elusive critters that easily slip through our minds, so force yourself to write down your answers. You’ll see patterns and trends and mindsets you may not even have been aware of.
Then take it one step further. Ask yourself these questions in relation to your dreams and aspirations in life.
Are we sabotaging ourselves by how we approach things? How can we turn the conflicts in our favor, to help us move forward?
Big, shiny light bulbs went off when I took a long look at HOW I’m trying to reach certain goals. I’m working on ways to move forward.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you thought through your personal GMC?