Writing Wrongs

January 31, 2005

I know Iím asking for trouble in going against the romance writerís canon of GMC (Goal, Motivation, and Conflict for those not in the know, not General Motors Corp.).

Let me state up front that I like characters who have goals. I canít stand it when characters act because of plot.

Oh, here I am in a nearly-transparent nightgown, the electricity has gone out, and a strange noise is coming from the attic. Think Iíll take this candle and go have a look-see.

And conflict? Two dogs, one bone, the essence of fiction.

What Iíve noticed, however, is a predominance of GMC in stories to the point where I simply donít want to read them. And thatís a sad thing. I feel bludgeoned of late with charactersí (heroines in particular) inner conflict. There it is, on page three. Got it. Oh, here we go again, page seven, and thirteen. By page thirty, Iím ready to throttle the woman--or drive her to a good therapist. Thereís only so much angst/bitterness/brittleness/remorse/anger/aguish one person and one character can take.

What I think this, unfortunately, does is reduce the character to one note. Itís all we get from her. When you focus exclusively on one facet of a character, the risk is she loses dimensions that bring her to life on the page.

Of course, when I read, I donít want everything spelled out for me upfront, to include possible inner conflict and motivations. Give me an interesting character in a compelling situation, and Iíll stick with the story for a while. Feed me bits of intriguing information along the way, let me make up my own mind about a character, and boom, youíve got me. Iím with you until the end.

I want to be an equal partner when I read. Donít hand me information, engage my imagination. What isnít on the page is often more important than what is. Iím smart enough to fill in the blanks.


Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 10:59 a.m.