What the heck is GMC? I had no idea what it is either, so don’t freak out if you’ve never seen the words ‘GMC’ together before. But what I will tell you before you keep reading is that having a GMC in writing is essential!
In short, GMC means—goal, motivation, and conflict. Those three things are essential in writing anything involving characters, whether it be a short story, novella, or full-length novel. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s break down how you can incorporate a GMC into your writing to strengthen your characters.
Now the ‘G’ in GMC is—goal:
So, you have a protagonist in mind for your story. You either have a character sheet filled out or a vivid Pinterest board including anything and everything your character likes. That’s a great start, but first, ask yourself what’s your protagonist’s goal. Does your character want to save the world, win a championship game, get their parents back together, or become a marine biologist? Those are all goals. The bottom line is your character needs a goal throughout your story. If they don’t, then what’s the point of the story? In my experience, if your protagonist doesn’t have a goal, it won’t lead to a very strong manuscript. In order to have scenes and chapters progress towards the ending of the book, your characters all need goals that they either achieve or don’t. Personally, I love a character that achieves their goal because it makes reading their journal throughout the story worth it. Again that’s just me.
Now for the ‘M’ in GMC—motivation:
Motivation is what motivates your protagonist to achieve their goal. Does your protagonist want to save the world because of a virus, or is the chosen one in society? Maybe your protagonist wants to prove they can achieve anything and win a championship their parents told them they could never win. Either way, that motivation is key to driving a thriving story. Your protagonist or cast of characters will be so much more fleshed out as characters if the reader knows their motivation behind the reason or reasons they want to achieve their goal. It also helps make the character more well-rounded.
Finally, for the ‘C’ in GMC—conflict:
Conflict is the key thing in a story that drives the plot. When you’re looking for ways to move your plot and keep the reader wanting to read more, the one thing you need in your story is conflict. For example, if your protagonist’s goal is to save the world and they are motivated to prove they are strong enough their conflict, maybe there is no oxygen on Earth. Or there is only a small civilization of people uninfected by a virus that can help them. See what I’m doing? Each one of those events is a conflict. It makes it harder for the protagonist to achieve their goal. Again, conflict is what drives a reader’s interest. It allows readers to root for the character. I always love how conflict strengthens a character’s ARC too.
So those are the three parts of GMC.
While combining the GMC may seem impossible, once you outline your story and go through it, weaving in a GMC is easier than you think. It was for me, but it was only easier after it was all outlined. It allowed me to step back and see my story from another view and determine what the heck my character’s GMC was.
After each chapter I wrote, I’d go back through and ask myself, ‘is my character’s GMC in this chapter?’ If yes, I kept writing. If not, I went back through and wove that in or rewrote the entire thing. The one thing about writing that everyone needs to know is the art of writing is rewriting. There is no such thing as ever writing enough. You also have to have a thick skin and be open-minded.
Don’t get mad if your critique partner doesn’t see a GMC in your writing and makes a comment about it in your in-line notes. Go through their notes and see maybe what you missed. Remember your reading group and your CPs are there to help you have a strong foundation for your manuscript.
For me, after rewriting my manuscript, I’ll be querying soon. I learned the number one thing to have my characters have a GMC. It makes a HUGE difference! I wanted to share what I learned this past year with all of you.
Have you heard of a GMC? Do you incorporate that into your writing?
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