Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday Writerly Wisdom

I have sloughed my way through the sagging middle of my book. That part where I had to take several long looks at my GMC sentences for the heroine and hero. Sometimes in the middle of all the action, I lose track of the people I'm writing about. You'd think that would be impossible but, believe me, I can do it quite well.

Most of you, who write, know what a GMC sentence is. Since I like simple, I've made it as simple as I can.

The character wants        (Goal)      because ___(Motivation)___,  but ____(Conflict)          keeps him/her from getting or achieving the goal.

An easy example. Susan wants to fly to New York (goal) to be there for the birth of her first grandchild (motivation), but a blizzard has closed all the airports (conflict). Your task becomes how Susan will plan, finagle, or connive to get to New York. How she achieves her goal becomes your story.
  •  If she catches a ride with a hunky snowplow driver on his way north to help other over-worked drivers, you might get a romance.
  • If she squeezes in a Jeep with a gang of free-wheelin' college kids who won't stop squabbling or doing childish stuff, you might end up with a comedic read.
  • If a couple offers her a ride and they turn out to be whacko murderers, eventually locking her in the trunk, you'll get a horror story. 
  • If she escapes the creepy couple above and runs into the woods only to be saved by a wolf who shifts into a muscle-bound man, a paranormal rests in your hands.
Can a character have more than one GMC sentence? Sure. Stories take twists and turns. Right? Or perhaps a character might have growth that requires his GMC to change. Growth can be good or bad. Your hero who's gotten by on his athletic abilities might be paralyzed in an accident you didn't see coming in chapter eight. Your sweet heroine might be raped by her new boss. Now she'll no longer trust, care, or try. These characters have changed internally and now require new GMC sentences.

So don't loose your righteous mind trying to fit into the original GMC sentence when a character's circumstances are altered. Because it just won't work.

Take my current WIP, for example. My hero is an ex-SEAL who lost most of his arm in Syria. He has serious PTSD issues. My heroine is his physical therapist, a single mom who can't trust men because of a rape. So here are their original GMC sentences.

Reece wants to be left alone in his silent world because he's haunted by night terrors and daytime visions, but Gina his PT won't stop talking while she shows him how to use his prosthesis.

Gina wants to help her new patient because she understand the wall of pain he's hiding behind since she's been there herself, but she's attracted to him and that scares her.

They've squabbled, grown three steps closer and then two steps apart. In skips Piper, Gina's little girl, who decides Reece is the man she wants for her daddy. This darling child can make Reece talk and smile. Slowly they grow close and then the unthinkable happens. Little Piper is abducted. The GMC sentences above no longer work. As a writer, I'm scrambling. Trying to make them fit but, folks, it ain't happenin'. I need new sentences...badly.

Gina wants her child back because she is her reason for living, but the first man she's trusted since her rape left Piper vulnerable for child-sex trafficers to abduct.

Reece wants to redeem himself to both Gina and Piper because in his heart they are both his, but he must face a branch of the Russian Mafia to get the little girl back he's come to adore.

Typically my GMC sentences hold up through the entire book. For this particular one, they didn't. I needed to face that and be flexible.

Do your characters ever change on you? Become lost to you? Rethink their goal, motivation, and conflicts.


Angela Adams said...

Great, awesome, fantastic post! Thanks!!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks, Angela. I hope it was helpful in some way.