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.

You can read more on goals and motivation in my other writing tips.

Created by Krystel Contreras & Jorge Courbis