So far, Goal, and a little Motivation…

October 4, 2012

Well, I started reading through Debra Dixon’s “Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction” this morning. It’s not a long book – a hundred and sixty-some pages, eleven chapters and a few appendices. I’m already finished the first two chapters – an introduction, and the chapter about goals. And I’m about halfway through chapter three, about motivations. (You only get one guess what chapter four is 😉 )

So far, it’s great stuff. The one thing I’m slightly disappointed in is that Debra doesn’t try to give a long example list of possibilities for character goals etcetra, but what she’s doing is at least as good – she gives some in-depth examples from touchstone movies like The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca, and a lot of helpful guidelines about what a goal needs to DO to be effective, why they work and why they might not, and so on. I’m learning a lot and loving it.

And my Nanowrimo idea is starting to come together already. I’m thinking of doing a science fiction YA story about a teenager living on a distant planet, who finds out that his parents have mortgaged his life to a corporation to finance their little souvenir stand; if they don’t pay off the loan by his eighteenth birthday, he’ll have to go up out of the tunnels to the forbidding planetary surface and work for the Corporation there. And he doesn’t believe his parents can raise the money in time, so he has to do it himself. That’s a strong goal, right? He’s motivated by not wanting to die young, working for the Corporation, and dreaming of doing more with his life, seeing the galaxy. There’s urgency, because if he can’t raise the money in time, the corporation doesn’t have to sell him his freedom.


Still waiting for Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

September 28, 2012

As I mentioned, I really enjoyed the Dragon*Con panel by Debra Dixon about ‘Goal, Motivation, and Conflict’ and it reinforced a belief that I already had that this was stuff I needed to understand more to take my writing to the next level. I didn’t rush right home and order Debra’s book, but I remembered to place my order over two weeks ago.

And I haven’t heard anything since, which is starting to make me feel jumpy. I sent back an email inquiry today, just wondering if they had any news on shipping or when I could expect delivery.

I want to have a while to read this book and let the big ideas sink in, then start using them to figure out what I’m writing this year for Nanowrimo. And time is starting to draw somewhat short – there are only a couple days left in September, after all.

Is anybody else feeling anxious about Nanowrimo already? I’m not usually jumpy about it, but between the GMC thing, which isn’t an approach that I’ve used before, (though I remember being exciting about snowflaking my Nano too,) and signing up as an ML, I’m both really excited and nervous about chomping more than I can chew this time.


Dragon*Con 2012: Monday is calmer

September 6, 2012

I made a particular point of planning to stay in Atlanta through Labor Day so that I could enjoy all of the Monday programming – as well as getting there on Thursday so that I’d be ready to rock first thing Friday. Overall I’m pleased that I did, but Monday was definitely a quieter day on the programming schedule, and I was ready for it after three days of high-energy Con-ning. On my way out of the Westin, I spotted this well-dressed Steampunk couple:

I headed on down to the WeyrFest room first – their first panel was ‘Dreams of Dragons; who else did Anne inspire to write about dragons and dragonriders?’ It’s funny how one of the first names anybody mentioned was Christopher Paolini, but there were some other books discussed; several of them went onto my ‘to be read’ list.

There was also an interesting side note about Ursula LeGuin and Earthsea, although she was admittedly a peer of Anne; the lady in the row behind me admitted that she’d always thought of the speech of the making in ‘Earthsea’ to be telepathic and not verbal, just because that was how people and dragons talked on Pern.

I stayed for a second WeyrFest panel; ‘If I could only…’ about if we could visit one of Anne’s worlds, which I remember being discussed earlier in the weekend as well. This time slot actually turned into a mostly off-topic but hugely enjoyable ramble by Todd, discussing things like his mother’s horse stables and current deliberations of the estate regarding future writings in any of the worlds she created.

Next, I returned to the Writing track homeroom for a talk on ‘Goal, Motivation, and Conflict‘ by the woman who started it all, Debra Dixon. It was great stuff, I feel like I understand GMC and how to apply it to my writing better, and I have a great further reading list, including Debra’s own book, which I hadn’t quite realized existed.

She did an example GMC worksheet for Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, (which she admitted was a basic example, but better to get through in a one-hour talk with questions from the audience,) and I took tons of notes on the Eclypse phone.

Note to self: I still need to find a better text editor or word processing app for that device. I was using Polaris Office, which isn’t too bad, but it scrolls left and right to an imaginary page width instead of wrapping to phone width, and every time I use the FN key to type in a symbol it moves the cursor to the beginning of the line. I was in a hurry, so kept typing periods or commas in place of the punctuation I wanted to use. I hope I’ll be able to read the notes okay.

By this point, most of the tracks were into wrap-up panels. WeyrFest wrap-up was in the same time slot as GMC, but I went to the Whedon Universe wrap-up first, “WU in review”, where people had lots of praise to give the track volunteers, some constructive feedback and some venting about things (like sound and video setup, guest booking) that were completely out of the track staff’s hands.

Then things got side-tracked into a discussion of costume contest standards – apparently there was a blonde Cordelia cosplayer who’d been given a Judge’s Favorite award in the Whedon Universe costume contest, even though the guy in charge of the track had strong feelings that in a costume contest, anybody who didn’t match the character they were coming as in an obvious detail of appearance should be penalized for it – but he couldn’t overrule the judges on that score.

The final wrap-up I went to was the BritTrack, which was much more informal. The staff were reading out feedback cards when I got in, and several of them were teasing and roasting the track director – a charming woman who’s apparently getting married next summer.

And that was it for the organized con. I picked up a soft serve cone, went back to my hotel room, watched some videos on the netbook, and got to bed early.


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