Tuesday, May 3, 2011

PSA: Goals, Motivation, and Conflict

Just as a helpful reminder to all of you out there who are diligently writing, it's really great for your book if the main character has clear goals, motivation, and conflict. What would be equally great is having GMC through the entire book, and not just a few scenes here and there.

ALSO, if the stakes were clearly stated. That helps oodles. This way the really awesome twists and turns of your plot can fully be appreciated, because the reader knows exactly how the latest turn of events affects the character.

What's that? Why do I sound so sarcastic? No real reason, other than me realizing that I blatantly ignored the above advice during the first draft of "The Heart's Remains", that's all. The book starts with plot, and then subplot, and then the rest of the time is vaguely connected subplot, and then he ending comes along like a party crasher.

Yeah, I have some work to do. But that's okay. Because I love this idea (who doesn't love the idea of a steampunk setting and a demon summoning? Good times.) and I already have some ideas on how to fix things. I've also learned that I don't do very well with writing by the seat of my pants. 

I regret nothing. I have some great scenes in this book, now I just have to connect them in a way that makes sense. Sometimes the books you mess up the most in the first draft are the ones you learn lots from. 

This is going to be one of those times. Good for you and me, and fun for all.

So yeah, I just thought I would throw that helpful reminder out there for you guys.


  1. This was one of the reasons I stopped working on a rewrite. Once I changed main characters, the reason the new mc to go along with everything seemed either ego or boredom, neither of which were enough to carry the entire story.

  2. Hahhahaaa. You said OODLES. I love that word.

    Ummmm. Yea. Hmm. I always ignore that until the rewrites but very important to remember!

  3. "Oh, no! Not another learning experience!" ;-)

    Acknowledging that the rewrite will be a chance to fix things can help get through that first draft. "It doesn't have to be perfect; I can fix it in revision."

  4. The thing about GMC is that, like in real life, it's not always clear on the first draft. Sometimes you have to dig it out, layer by layer.

  5. Joe: Lucky for me the GMC is buried within the text. It's just no where near as consistent as it should be.

    Mia: YES! I love that word too! That's good to know you do it the rewrite. It gives me hope.

    Linda: ACK! LEARNING! I know.

    Elizabeth: Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking. Take each plot elements and flesh it out, and work on the GMC for each one. Baby steps.

  6. Always good advice!

    Now I'm wracking my brain trying to think if I've made the GMC clear enough in my latest MS.