3 Little Questions

Saturday, January 15, 2005

I was just over on Paperback Writer's blog. As a writer you hear over and over again GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) and their importance to the story and characterization. Yet the 3 questions PBW posted work much better for me. I tend to think about stories and characters in a very organic, meandering, brainstorming way. Only after things have gelled, do I go back and start to really analyse and flesh out stuff.

The 3 questions -- Who are you? What do you want? What's the worst thing that I can do to you? --are fabulous as a starting point to that analysis. She had another set of alternative questions -- Who were you? or How were you damaged? or What do you symbolize? I think these alternates may be more applicable to Odil, and the first set more relevant to Zoe. I also loved her lotus flower analogy, that sounds more like the way I think/plan story & character.


Anywho, I have to run out again, but I'm going to think about these questions as they pertain to Zoe and Odil. I'll post the answers when I get back. How about you? Can you answer these questions for your characters? Leave a post, I'd be interested in what everyone comes up with.

Once again, thanks PBW for another great, thought provoking blog.
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7 comments:

Sasha White said...

Wow! I love those three little questions! Great stuff, thanks for pointing it out!

Shannon Stacey said...

"Who are you? What do you want? What's the worst thing that I can do to you?"

Hey, that's my phone greeting!

Seriously, those are awesome questions, especially since they're short, precise, and can help me avoid those 600 page character questionaires people keep trying to throw at me. *g*

*waves hello*

Steph T. said...

I've been using these questions all morning! I love them!

I'll be back to post about my current characters when I've got this stuff all figured out :)

Amie Stuart said...

LOL Shannon

GMC Gives me hives....bad ones =\

Anonymous said...

I like those three questions, too! Especially since I can't write character profiles to save my life.

Hi Jaq!

Marjorie

Anonymous said...

LOL, on the phone greeting, Shannon. I just let the machine pick up. Same diff. gg I *can not* sit down and formally answer those questionaires you refer to. Or, formally, fill out a chart. If I'm keeping notes to myself, or a chart to keep time lines clear/straight, fine. That's informal.

Cece, one of them (GMC) is good enough for me going in. I find that I'll add the other two subconciously. But actively thinking about it as a write the first draft is a 'brain shutting down' experience. But I do need to have a handle on at least one of those elements, or my scene will lack focus, or the pacing will be off, or something.

But aren't you the one reading Hero's Journey? I've skimmed through that book twice, and even took a workshop on it. ::shudder:: Not saying there isn't good things there, but I rather use it as an analysing tool *after* the fact, or the ol' noggin does that brain siezure thing, I find sooo annoying.

Hey, Marjorie! I popped over your blog again today. :-)

Amie Stuart said...

I can't think about them ahead of time either or I get all bound up--too much fiber *ggg* but yeah I do try to make a scene work. THJ really hasnt fazed me--pretty fascinating. It's been very insightful, whereas Deb Dixon's GMC workshop nearly put me in a wheelchair LOL.
Amazing how tough those three questions PBW posted are to answer. In Red's case it's easy. He's a husband, he wants his estranged family to leave him alone, send his wife and child to Bluebonnet *ggg*
But with Steph it's harder. Maybe cause SHE doesn't know who she is. So I guess the answer is: I'm adopted, I want to know where I come from, make my birth mother reject me. Or I'm a married woman, I DON'T want children, make my husband give me an ultimatum. Both work.

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