Goal - Motivation - Conflict

Yup. Still gardening. I finally put in my tomatoes and red bell pepper. 

 A yellow iris, behind the barely seen pepper plant, tomato in its cage, HUGE rhubarb, and another tomato in its cage. 

A yellow iris, behind the barely seen pepper plant, tomato in its cage, HUGE rhubarb, and another tomato in its cage. 

Gardening yesterday was wonderful!  No bugs!  How did that happen? I wore long sleeves but my legs were exposed. No mosquitoes. No gnats. I stayed out working in the lawn and garden until the sun set. 

But, that's not my topic today.  

Goal - Motivation - Conflict

Some more aha! moments this week. This time from a comment on Kill Zone blog with the mention of Debra Dixon's GMC book. My curiosity piqued, I checked it out on Amazon and read through the available pages. This book is on my TB (to buy) list!   

She focuses on the three main elements of plot and in her pages, she writes that there are many different words for these three:

  1. Goal: desire, want, need, ambition, purpose
  2. Motivation: drive, backstory, impetus, incentive
  3. Conflict: trouble, tension, friction, villain, roadblock, barrier

And she has a GMC chart, which is not in the Amazon read but which can be found online.  The chart involves answering questions about these three elements from the point of view of your main character: What? Why? and Why Not?

Jami Gold also has information on her blog about these plot elements and asked more defining questions. 

  1. Conflict: What forces the main character to become involved?
  2. Motivation: Why do they make that choice?
  3. Goal: What do they hope to accomplish with that choice?

Finding Balance

I also found more helpful information at nerdychickswrite.com in a column by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, an award-winning children's author. She lifts up three more elements to take into consideration as we plot out our stories: obstacles, fears, and rewards. 

She asks these questions to go with these "ingredients" as she relates writing to cooking. 

  1. Goal: What does your character want?
  2. Motivation: Why does he want it?
  3. Stakes: What happens if he doesn't get what he wants?
  4. Obstacles: What stands in his way?
  5. Fears: What does he have to overcome to be able to go after what he wants?
  6. Reward: How does he triumph if he does get what he wants?   

This blogger also talks about how these six elements can be paired and the necessity to balance these pairs. She balances: goals with obstacles, motivations with fears, and stakes with rewards. 

Happy writing!