Day 10 of PREPtober

Today is all about creating our character’s External GMC – the visual goal for the world to see.


Hi everyone and welcome to day 10 where we are going to be reviewing external GMC. Now, external GMC versus internal which we’ll be going over tomorrow is exactly like it sounds. External is on the outside. It is something very visual, so examples of this would be getting the promotion at work, winning the lottery, getting the car of your dreams as a gift for your birthday. These are irrefutable, easy to see goals that the audience can quickly identify with and do not require a lot of explanation. Now, there are certain goals that must be avoided even though they sound like goals, they should never be external goals.

The first one is the external goal of your character can not be to be happy, to be loved, to be wealthy, to be famous, or to be powerful. The reason it can not be any of these five goals is because these are very shallow and selfish goals which sort of on the surface, just will make your character very unlikeable and also in addition to that, they’re not visual. It’s going to be very difficult for your audience to root for that person and get behind them and even then, if they are on board, they’re not going to know whether or not they have actually obtained that physical goal or not. The best way to do this is to model it after a movie, TV show, a book. Something within the genre that you are writing and then work backwards and reverse engineer it from there so that you can write a goal that has sort of the same feel so you know you’re on the right track.

I’m going to take the movie Bridesmaids and in there, Annie, the main character very much wants to be a great bridesmaid and the visual way that she’s able to achieve this goal is by giving a great speech at the engagement party, by hosting a successful bridal shower and bachelorette party as well as the bridesmaid dress fittings. Now, her motivation is that she wants to be a great friend to the person getting married which I believe her name is Lillian, and to do this would also, her motivation is to strengthen their relationship and their bond. Now, her conflict is Helen. Helen is a new friend to Lillian and she is sort of set up as the villain in the movie and the thing is, Lillian’s goal is the same as Annie’s goal, but Lillian provides a lot of conflict because Lillian is much better at being able to achieve that goal.

She has more experience, she has more money, she has more time, and she simply is in a better position to achieve all of those goals and continually up shows Annie as we go through the movie. That is very external. A good example and the movie is the bridesmaid dress fitting and when they get there for the appointment, Annie has not made an appointment but it is an appointment only place, but Annie did try very hard. It was the top tier place in the city to go to, but she wasn’t going to be allowed in the door. That was something very visual. You could see all the girls standing outside, they could not get in. However, when Helen chimed in, she was able to get all of the women in within two seconds and you saw them visually enter in to that bridal shop.

That is a very easy to see visual goal of whether or not it was achieved. This is what I would hope that you could do with your character and their goals, motivations, and conflict. I will see you back here tomorrow where we will talk about internal GMC and I will go through that same movie and talk about the internal GMC that’s sort of going on behind the scenes in that movie.

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