Passing on the Passion: Goal, Motivation and Conflict

Writing a Great Parnormal Romance SynopsisLast week, I had the distinguished honor of teaching a class on Plotting Your Novel at the Missoula Public Library.  It was an incredible success and I would like to share some of the points I was teaching for those of you who are interested in becoming authors.Before you begin work on your novel you need to have a plan in place for your book and your characters.The first step in plotting your novel is knowing three things about the book: The Goal, The Motivation and The ConflictWhat is a Goal?Goal is the "What" of your book.

™“A goal is a desired result, a purpose or an objective.  A goal is the prize or reward that your character wants to obtain or achieve.  Everybody likes a winner, and readers are no exception to the rule.”
™Debra Dixon (GMC Goal Motivation Conflict, 1996)
Your character’s goal must be urgent.
™They need to:
™Find the cure for cancer before their husband passes away.
™Rescue their long lost sister from a band of pirates.
™Give an injured jockey the ride he’s been waiting his whole life to attain, but must prove to the world he can ride again.
™Give a work driven maniac a chance at a job that will risk his family, but give him the job satisfaction he’s always wanted.
™Remember*  We don’t always achieve our goals and neither should our characters.

What is Motivation?Motivation is the "Why" of your book.  Why do your character's want to achieve their goal?–“Motivation is what drives your character to obtain or achieve his goal… Keep it simple.  Keep it strong.  Keep it focused.”

™ Debra Dixon (GMC Goal Motivation Conflict, 1996)

What is Conflict?Conflict is the "Why not?" of your book.  Why can't they achieve their goal? What/Who is standing in their way? Why?

–“Conflict is the reason your character can’t have what he wants.  If you character could have what he wanted, then you have no book!  Conflict is the obstacle or impediment your character must face in obtaining or achieving his goal.  Conflict is not an optional element.”
™Debra Dixon (GMC Goal Motivation Conflict, 1996)
Within each of these catagories each can be subdivided into:
Internal (non-tangible) and
External (tangible). IE The External Goal: (Example) The man wants to discover the cure for cancer.  Internal Goal: He needs to save his wife.
Within your book, the GMC should be involved in the overall concept and, additionally, in every chapter.  This should also be used in developing each of your characters, including your antagonist--very few people are entirely 'bad' instead they have a motivation that we may not agree with or understand.  Using GMC you can help create three-dimensional characters who are relatable and understandable--thus making your story stronger.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate in asking!