July 18, 2010

You might have heard of Debra Dixon’s GMC – Goal, Motivation, Conflict. It’s a basic principle for plotting and character development.

Let’s start with goal.

Every character, especially the main characters, needs a goal. A character who doesn’t want anything would be pretty boring. What a character wants tells us a lot about who she is and it will also drive the plot, because the protagonist will take active steps, trying to reach her goal.

Your antagonist needs a goal too. He or she shouldn’t be act because he’s “bad,” but because his or her goals bring him in conflict with the protagonist. More about conflict in a later post.

That goal needs to be:

  • concrete – so that readers can decide for themselves if the protagonist reached her goal or not.
  • urgent – reaching the goal needs to be important to the protagonist. If she doesn’t reach that goal, something bad would happen.
  • difficult to accomplish – if it’s too easy to achieve, the story will be over too fast.
  • revealed early in the story – the best thing would be to make the protagonist want something on the very first page, even if the real goal is introduced only later in chapter one or two.

In Second Nature, Griffin wants to protect the shape-shifters, while Jorie wants to get her book published.

More on goals and motivation in the next post.



  1. […] (e.g., solve a murder. If the character doesn’t have a goal, you have no story. As I said before, the goal should be specific and tangible. And it should be urgent – the character should want it […]

  2. […] Motivation September 30, 2010 I’ve blogged about the character’s conscious goals, which drive the plot. But characters also need to have deeper motivations, something that makes […]

  3. […] You can read more about goals here. […]

  4. […] Mehr über Ziele finden Sie in diesem englischsprachigen Blog-Artikel. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: