Writers Workshop – GMC(R)

On Saturday, I was able to attend a writers workshop put on by Chris Wilk.  The focus of the workshop was GMC(R) – or Goals, Motivation, Conflict and Resolution.

Taken from the workshop handout:

At the heart of every story are the goals and motivations of its characters, what they want and why.  Conflict ensues when obstacles, setbacks and antagonists thwart their efforts.  GMC is the bedrock for plot.  In the end, characters achieve or fail, and are often changed, which adds the “R” — resolution to the GMC(R).  

Untitled design

My current WIP has given me a bit of trouble and this is where the workshop helped.  As I thought about my main character – about what makes her tick – I realized that I didn’t really know her.   I’ve spent plenty of time putting her in awkward situations but I didn’t make the effort to get inside her head, to learn about what motivates her.  That was a mistake – one that I am working to rectify.

This is why I love workshops and conferences – they give me an opportunity to learn, to step back and identify an area that can use some improvement.

As 2016 is right around the corner, I’ve added a couple of conferences to my calendar.

Book ‘Em North Carolina will be held:  Saturday, February 27, 2016 at Robeson Community College in Lumberton, North Carolina.  It’s Free and open to the public. 

Carolina Writers Conference will be held:  April 26, 2016 at Lockhart-Taylor Center in Wadesboro, North Carolina. There is a charge for this conference but it is nominal.  If my memory serves me right, last year it was $20 or $25 and included a catered lunch – which was delicious!

For many people, attending a conference isn’t possible.  If that’s you, there are online options that cost nothing but a click and your time.  I have found the sites listed below to be very informative.

Kristen Lamb’s Blog

Writers in the Storm

The Insecure Writers Support Group

Writers Helping Writers

Do you have a favorite site/blog that offers writing tips/resources?  If so, please comment.

Writing Rituals

Developing our own unique rituals can help us become more productive in our writing. They offer us the freedom to tap into ourselves – to find those things that connect us with our imagination.  For some, sitting at a desk wearing a pair of boxers and sipping on coffee might bring on the muse.  Others might connect with their story by taking a walk in the woods or listening to a soundtrack of their favorite movies.  (I love listening to music from The Lord of the Rings.)  The choice of ritual isn’t as important as the results.  Ultimately, the object is to clear away the static so our thoughts and ideas flow.Writing RitualsWhat are your rituals?

Don’t Let Time Pass You By

As writers, we each face our own struggles.  I tend to think a lot of my issues could be alleviated if I had more time in the day. Seeing as how I don’t have access to a magical hourglass, I had to consider other options.  The one that screamed for my attention was time management.  My situation is not unique.  Like many of you, I work full time.  That leaves a few short hours a day to take care of my home/family, exercise, write and grow my audience.

Building my author platform

It’s hard.

Who knew there would be so much effort required?  I thought writing the novel was supposed to be the most difficult part. Imagine my surprise when I realized I needed a twitter account, a Facebook author page, a blog, etc.

It’s time consuming.

Each plank in the platform comes from the connections we make.  Those connections take time to cultivate.  That means we reach beyond ourselves.  We engage others.  We listen to their ideas. We share ours.  In short, being a good neighbor requires being social.

But – here’s the catch

Building my platform was taking too much of my writing time.  Seriously.  It was so easy to get caught up in reading the posts on certain Facebook pages.  And then there was Pinterest. My goodness – I was on my way to becoming a “Pinning” junkie.  I have boards dedicated to my blog, to interesting faces, beautiful places – things that may or may not inspire scenes in future stories.  There’s boards dedicated to my books.  I’m sure you get the picture.  😉

I needed to get a handle on my socializing…

I love my blog.  I love the blogging community.  I decided that my blog would become the hub of my social media/platform building efforts.

Blog Hub

This is still a work in progress.  But it has helped ease the stress of coming up with so many new ideas for posting to the different social media sites.  Take my Facebook Author page – I guess I’m a bit ambivalent when it comes to this page.  I hate feeling as though I’m shouting Look At Me! and my Facebook author page makes me feel that way.  By sharing my blog, I have activity on my page without bashing people over the head with Buy My Book posts.

There’s still the Time Management thing…

This requires discipline and lots of it.  I’m not the most disciplined person.  I have a tendency to fly by the seat of my pants – which is probably why I’m a pantzer and not a plotter.  To help keep myself on task, I came up with a schedule. It’s helped by making me more mindful of my time.  I decided to limit my interactions to about 30 minutes an evening.  That means I have to choose which sites/communities I am going to visit.  Take Mondays, for example.  I’ll visit blogs that I follow as well as Twitter.  Tuesdays will be G+ communities and maybe a stop at my Facebook Author page.  It’s not a perfect plan but it is helping me stay focused and freeing up my time.

schedule
Not sure where the lines that separate Thursday, Friday, and Saturday went…

I’m always looking for new ideas… What are you doing to maximize your writing time?

My Favorite Websites for Writers

The internet is a BIG place – full of fantastic sites for writers.  Unfortunately, we don’t always have time to cruise around in search of great information sources.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite sites with you.  These sites offer valuable tips/help and they’re only a click away!

1.  Writers Helping Writers  information

2.  Kristen Lamb’s Blog

3.  Creative Writing with the Crimson League

4.  The Creative Penn

5.  Insecure Writers Support Group

If you have a favorite site, please share it in the comments.  I’m always on the lookout for additional resources.

knowledge

Villains – Gotta Love ‘Em

televisionI think it began with Saturday morning cartoons – specifically re-runs of Scooby-Doo and Johnny Quest.  I absolutely loved watching them – until it was bedtime and my imagination kicked in.  I was certain some evil creature was lurking in my closet or hiding under my bed.

My fascination with shows/movies that scared me continued with Star Wars. I loved the commercials until Darth Vader appeared.  The combination of his mask and the sound of his breathing was enough to send me running down the hall. And yet, there was something about him that intrigued me.

As I grew older, Vader became my favorite character.  Not Anakin, mind you. I mean – What was there to like?  Nothing. Not until the very end – as he struggled to live.

Considering my fascination with villains, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when I realized that I loved bringing my “bad guys” to life.

I’m a nice person.  For real.  I may be one of the nicest people I know. 😉 Seriously. I like being nice.  I love sappy commercials and have been known to cry during touchy-feely ones.  BUT – there is something about being inside my villain’s head that is particularly satisfying.  There’s this rush when the scene starts coming together and my bad guy shares his secrets.  At times, I can’t help but shake my head at his devious plans while my fingers put his thoughts onto paper.

That’s the thing with villains. They help propel the story.  They give purpose to the hero’s struggles. They are compelling.

For some great advice and insights on developing your villain, check out the links below:

Kristen Lamb’s blog

Writing Forward

Script Mag

If you have a favorite site/link/book dealing with developing a villain, share it in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy writing!