Tuesday, May 15, 2012



Well, as an author, these three letters are critical to writing a good story. G, for goals, M for motivation and C for conflict.  These three letters have been foremost in my mind for the past couple of days as I struggle through a section of my new story.

Struggle?  Yep.  It happens.  Some people call it writer's block, but I don't necessarily believe in writer's block. More like speed bumps. You go flying through chapter after chapter and then you hit a speed bump and everything slows down. I'm not quite sure why it happens, but its very frustrating when it does. I have future chapters dancing in my brain, so I'm even more frustrated because I have a direction I'm trying to go.  So how do you get over those speed bumps?


The chapter is dragging. They're eating dinner and you don't need to see every little bite and it's getting boring. So how do you move it forward? Check out what you're trying to accomplish in the chapter. What are the character's goals? What motivates them to get to those goals, and what conflicts are they encountering along the way? (conflicts like speed bumps?) {grin}

GMC helps to propel you forward when you you get stuck. GMC should be central to every aspect of the writing. I'll be honest with you, when I'm on a roll, I don't get bogged down in "overthinking" these things. I know the basic plot points, I know the overall goals. I know the major conflicts. Breaking it down to the chapter level is usually my idea of "micromanaging," and yet it is important, even at that level. Therefore, when I find myself in this predicament, I reach back into my bag of writer's tools. It doesn't always work like rocket fuel to get me back into orbit, but it generally gives me the push over the bump. Some chapters are like that. They slow you down. Does this chapter have a purpose in the story? Absolutely. So I'm creeping over my speed bump and anxious to zoom on ahead.

An alternative to laboring through these types of chapters is to jump ahead to the other chapters that are dancing in my brain.  I have done that on occassion.  It's a less linear approach, but when you've got other characters or situations singing to you, there's nothing to stop you from giving them their voice. You can always come back to the speed bump later, and often it is less intimidating later. You might think of it as the Quentin Tarrantino approach. 

So now that I've avoided my speed bump long enough to blog, I need to get back to work!


  1. When reading a book or article written, it always seems the author has flawlessly flowed through the entire piece without a hitch, Interesting. It must be hard tho to go back to where you had the glitch and fill it in, I think I'd have a problem doing that and still have it flow well. You are amazing.

  2. It doesn't always flow well! Thanks for your kind words. :-)