Monday, May 29, 2006

Writing scenes and creating characters - techniques

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I'm off to Quebec City for a few days on a business trip. Then, I'm off for 1 1/2 weeks on holidays! The plan: to get tons of writing done.

My question to you writers is, do you use the Goal-Motivation-Conflict technique in your writing? Do you apply GMC to both internal and external goals?

Joan Swan over at Romance Worth Killing For wrote an interesting post about Robert Gregory Brown's
attitude, emotion, goal and action technique. Swan says:

In relation to character development though, RBG brought it all back together for me with one simple concept: imagination + self.

He says every character he writes is him--hero, heroine, secondary, tertiary, one-liners. They're all him...

RBG suggests you ask yourself, if this were me, how would I handle the situation?

My next question is, do you get your characters from within yourself? Or, do you create characters externally? Or, if none of the above, how do you make your characters seem real?

UPDATE: Therese Walsh over at Writer Unboxed has posted the 'Mother of all Character Interviews.'


Bren said...

My characters are definitely not all based on myself. I don't think anyone has enough facets in their personality to be able to write every character this way. I also think this could be very limiting. I am a study of human nature. I draw on my observations of the people around me constantly. I believe this is the way to make your characters real.

Melly said...

I'm not sure what GMC is, but as for characters being all me - not at all. Perhaps some traits they have, perhaps.
Some of my characters are quite the opposite, some similar and some simply different. I agree with bren, it would be limiting, oh, and I'm not that interesting to boot :)

Tess said...

Hmm, I've never really thought about it. I just kinda start writing about my characters, a little bio, and stuff comes out. Hmmmmmm.

Stacy Dawn said...

I don't consiously use GMC but it does stay in mind as I write.

Yes, I'd say there is a little bit of me in all my characters. Some of a smidgen of my personalities, a similiar childhood, a friend with the same name as someone I went to elementary school with, while others are doing what I would only fantasize about, or face my worst fears...all so I don't have too LOL

Kelly Parra said...

When I was first trying to find my writing strategy, I did use the GMCs. But then I've tried almost every technique I could get my hands on. None seemed right for me. Now I sort of do a character sketch, habits, looks what the character wants, type of thing. Most of the time the characters change, but it gives me a starting point.

And my answer is both internal and external. Part of me goes into my characters, and part I create from maybe what I see in others. =D

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Melissa Marsh said...

I use GMC - it helps me to stay focused throughout the book.

As far as my characters...well, I'd have to say that there is a little of me in many of them, but not very much. I think we need to include one of our own traits in order to understand them well.

Wil said...

Actually I have a tendancy to loosly base my characters on people I know or have met.... I know this can be a bit dangerous but it helps in relation to physical attributes and mannerisms.

IF I dont catch you before your week and a half have a good one!


Rene said...

I'm not a big GMC fan. Obviously it plays a part in the story, but I don't like using the "formula."

My characters are fractures of myself. I'm more...hmmm...yin&yang about my characters. I believe my hero and heroine are half of a whole and the whole point of the story is for these two people to come together and create a whole. I'm so freakin' spacy.

Jean said...

Where do characters come from? Characters are a jigsaw puzzle of pieces I find all over the place. Certainly, pieces of them come from me. Other parts of them come from observations made outside myself. The whole is, ideally, something synergistic with a life of its own.

I don't think I use GMC.

Nienke said...

Fascinating! Thanks for your comments. In my journey to find my 'method' it really helps to learn how other writers work.

Debora said...

I try to use the whole GMC thing, but I do deviate. My characters are both pieces of myself and those around me (makes the family crazy trying to figure out who they are...heehee.

Have a great vacation!

nanza said...

hey i think i'm gonna take writing classes....don't know if that'll help or hinder

great post Nienke

deadboy138 said...

Nienke, thanks for visiting my blog, and for adding me to your blogroll!

I read somewhere that when you dream, because your dreaming mind is yourself, your creative unconscious, or whatever, that you are basically each person (or thing) to come down the pike. You are the main character, the supporting cast, the director, the props, the place...I have no idea if this is true, of course. That said, I kinda agree that we put a lot of ourselves into our writing--whether or not we are aware of it. In many ways.

Oh, BTW, I am NOT deadboy. I am pepek! My son hasn't switched my computer back to being mine. I had a great trip, thanks, and I hope yours is too!

deadboy138 said...

PS. Writing a biography, which I have been concertrating on most recently, may be a little different, to the extent that you are limited to the facts of somebody else's life and psyche. Even so, you have to throw a lot of yourself into it, sort of like an actor playing a role. Does this make sense to anyone but me?

(still not deadboy)

Milady Insanity said...

It's different for different characters.

Some pass by when I write a book and I grab them. Others I have character profiles, and others I write a few pages, in first person, of stream-of-consciousness, just to get their voice.

Have a great vacation Nienke!