Monday, September 28, 2009

Wrapping up with GMC:

Please welcome Katie Ganshert as the concludes her series on GMC this Manuscript Monday.

Wrapping up with GMC

by Katie Ganshert

For this last post, we will explore how to use GMC to create an elevator pitch. But first, let’s do a quick recap.

Goal. Every main character needs one. What does your character want? And what's at stake if he doesn't reach his goal? The higher the stakes, the better.

Motivation. Every goal needs one. Why is your character after what he’s after? Why does the goal matter? You can make your character want anything, as long as the motivation behind the goal is compelling and believable.

Conflict. Every story needs one. What stands in the way of your character reaching his goals?

Every scene you write needs to advance your character's GMC in some way. If one of your scenes doesn't address a G, or an M, or a C, then you must ask yourself, why is the scene in the book?

What’s an elevator pitch and how do we use the GMC to write one? An elevator pitch is a short one or two sentence blurb describing the premise of your book.

Elevator Pitch Outline: Character wants (goal) because (motivation), but (conflict).

Elevator Pitch: The Wizard of Oz
An unhappy teenager wants to get home because her aunt is sick, but first she must win the witch’s broom in order to get help from the wizard.

Important Note: Unhappy teenager is used in place of Dorothy’s name. Debra Dixon refers to this as a dominant impression—an adjective/noun combination that captures the essence of your character. When constructing your elevator pitch, you want to use the dominant impression, not your character’s actual name.

So that’s a very simplistic explanation of GMC. To learn more about these important concepts, you’ll have to buy Debra Dixon’s amazing book, Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.

Katie Ganshert was born and raised in Iowa, where she currently resides with her husband, their ten-month-old son, and their black lab, Bubba. She keeps busy balancing her roles as wife, mother, 5th grade teacher, and writer. She writes emotional love stories. Two of her short stories will be published in Christian Fiction Online Magazine, one in August, the other in November. She is an active member of ACFW, has completed three novels, and looks forward to writing more. You can find Katie at her website: or on her blog where she writes about all things writing.