Thursday, January 15, 2015

It's All About The GMC...

Happy Thursday All,

Smokey Mountains in
Gaitlinburg, TN, 2013
In writing, editing, critiquing, and being a judge (yes, I've done a little judging for a contest) there's a few things about writing that are true all the way across the board--no matter what genre, no matter if you're a newbie, or best seller, or somewhere in between. Or if you're a "pantser" or a "plotter". And that's organizing your story.

Every writer is different and every writer does this differently. I call myself a "half-in-half" writer because I do a little plotting and I do a little pantsering. But the main things every writer needs whether they do it before they write the first draft, or in the editing process are for every important/main character(s) in one's novel:

Me, at the NWHRWA
Lone Star Conference, 2014
Goal, motivation, conflict.

Yes,  GMC that leads to the actual plot.

Whether you're writing the hero, heroine, villain, whatever character, you have to know their GMC.

I'm not the first author to talk about this, and I doubt I'll be the last. I won't say my way is the only way to do things, it's just one idea of how you can organize your characters' GMC and a method that has worked for me.

Me, holding paperback copy of
(I believe this was 2014).
In my files I have what I call my GMC Worksheet and I make this up for every main character I write. (Side note: I didn't use one when I wrote All's Fair In Love & Lion), in my writing it became apparent I needed something to refer to so that I didn't write myself into a corner, so here's what I do:

I have the title of the new novel--usually a working title or something that says what the novel will be, if I don't know the title. Like say I write something about a magic coat, but I don't know the title, yet. I'll put "Magic Coat Story"

Below that I have the following information:


Type of being:
Physique (height/weight):


I have these categories outlined for every character, and then at the very bottom I put in a basic plot line--I write out a draft of what the story will be about. (By the way, I have "type of being" because I write Fantasy and Paranormal, so not every character is strictly human--although, I do have some fully human characters).

And this is how I organize my work. This is how I know what each story is going to be about. If I can't sit down and start the story right away, I have the worksheet on file and can refer back to it whenever I want. These worksheets help me figure out what direction my story will take, where I am going and what I'm doing. I didn't do a detailed one for each of the Immortal Dreams books because I had a basic idea of what was going on after Book One. But I played with some ideas. But I do use this worksheet for every other novel I haven't written or finished yet. It gives me a chance to hash out ideas.

If you're someone who has trouble getting that first draft written, I

Me at the Botanical Gardens in Arkansas
really recommend doing something like this. It'll help you get started. Whether you're a pantser or a plotter, sometimes playing around with ideas without the pressure of actually being within the manuscript itself can make the difference between writing yourself into a corner and knowing where you're going. I've been on both sides of the fence and I can tell you I do a lot less writing myself into a corner since I started thinking in terms of GMC than I used to do.

But, every writer is different and whatever way you write, you have
to know your strengths and weaknesses and what helps you and what doesn't. No writer is perfect. Trust me. I run across best selling authors who tell me such-and-such thing is their Achilles' heel. It happens. But if a writer learns from his or her mistakes and keeps working, he/she will get better. You don't get better if you don't work on your short-comings and sharpen your strengths.

Hope you all are having a great week! I've been getting a much needed break while waiting for my proofreader to finish with Immortal Love. That doesn't mean I'm not doing anything. I've done some writing and I'm doing some reading and stuff with the family. Also sleeping. Pregnancy is tiring at times.

Have A Totally Tantalizing Thursday!


RyanJoSummers said...

Bethany, awesome advise. Thank you for sharing. A 'cheat sheet' is a good tool for all writers to use. I have a similar one I use for all primary characters--- and sometimes on secondary ones.

Bethany said...


Thank you! I owe the idea for a GMC worksheet to my critique partner. She always says you have to know the GMC for your characters. It's certainly helped me!

Thank you for dropping by and commenting. :-)