Wednesday, March 3, 2010

GMC Game #1

Since I know how much you like games, I thought we’d play another one. This time, we’re going to practice our GMCs. What are those? Check out my earlier post on the subject here.

How to play: I’ll post a scenario and you come up with the GMCs for that character. You can write the basic GMCs or go into detail with internal and external GMCs. Don’t look for hints of the character’s GMCs in my posts because I want you to think beyond the scenario. What could this character’s back story be? Why is he/she reacting this way (emotionally)? Why is he/she doing that (physically)? Think of the possibilities.

On Friday, I’ll chose my favorite GMC sample from your comments to this post and explain why that particular example worked for me. Then, I’ll submit another scenario and we’ll start again.

Please participate, even if you don’t think you fully understand GMCs. The more people who play the game, the more we can learn from each other, so tell your friends to join, too.

Since I write romantic suspense, the first post is in that genre, but I’ll try to change it up for you. If you have any scenarios you’d like me to use as a sample, email them to me at lynnette_labelle at hotmail dot com. Make sure you write GMC Game in the subject, so I know it’s safe to open. Please don’t attach anything. Paste the text inside the email message. Thanks.

Ready? Here we go.

Marla’s ex-boyfriend tried to win her back over the past few months. He tried making her jealous, pretended to be her friend, called with fake emergencies, and begged for her to give him another chance. They hadn’t dated for very long, so Marla couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t move on. She explained to him that his drinking and controlling behavior during their relationship is what turned her off. Since she didn’t believe he could change, there was no point in “trying again”.

A week went by and she didn’t hear from him. She thought he’d given up, until she came home one night and found him in her living room. After a heated argument, he left vowing to change her mind about their relationship.

Now, he is following and harassing her through menacing phone calls. The guy is clearly stalking her, but she refuses to call the police. Why? What could be in her GMC make up or back story that would keep her from getting a restraining order or having him arrested? You tell me.

Have fun!


  1. This sounds so fun, Lynnette! I don't understand GMCs very well yet but I'll try my best. I sent you an e-mail!

  2. Never done this before, but I'll take a swing.

    Marla never trusted the 'system'. Not that she had anything against good government, but she'd been involved in the seedier side of politics before and she knew the simple fact: they're all corrupted. A one-time attorney in the appeals courts defending freedom of speach cases, she was stopped one night on a lonely road for speeding. Yeah, she loved to drive alone and at ridiculous speeds--until that night. The officer's name was J. Ronan. He recognized her immediately as the attorney that won the case against him two years prior. He pulled her out of her car and beat her, nearly killing her before he called-in and asked for backup. It was his word against hers and she narrowly avoided being convicted of attempted murder. She hated cops and 'system' and she'd never rely on them to protect her.

    Was that what was supposed to happen? My fingers just kind of went with it...

  3. Marla knows that her ex-boyfriend, Bruce, is already on shaky ground with his patrol officer. One more strike and they'll lock him up again. As much as Marla would like him out of her life, she knows how hard prison was for him...and how dangerous a place it can be. Her step-brother, accused of robbing a pet shop, was sent to prison for a few months, but he got into an argument with the wrong guy and came home in a pine box. Marla doesn't want Bruce to suffer the same fate. Not now. His two-year old daughter Gillian is depending on him. If he goes to jail, Gillian will get sent back to her meth-abusing mother. Marla worked with woman, doing her job as a social worker, so she knows... Sending Bruce back to prison would be a death sentence for Gillian.

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  5. This is great, Amy and Chantal. Now, put this back story into a GMC format. What are Marla's goal, motivation, and conflict. The GMCs could be anything because we don't know the story yet, but make sure her they work with what I've posted and what you've used as her back story so far.

    Lynnette Labelle

  6. Oh. Um. 'kay...

    Marla's Goal: To get promoted. Motivation: She needs more money or she'll lose her house. Conflict: If Bruce messes up and Gillian goes back to her mom, Marla won't be able to close out that case and probably won't get the promotion.

    ...i guess. :)

  7. Marla met this ex-boyfriend in a rough part of town, where her stepfather lives. Her mother left when she was little and though her stepfather drank and emotionally abused her, he did raise her and she feels obligated to take care of him now that she's older and he's practically living on the streets.

    The ex-boyfriend is a blueblood by day/drug dealer by night to whom the stepfather owes a great deal of money. He fell hard for Marla and though she was initially repulsed by him, she agreed to date him so that he would lessen the debt owed by her stepfather.

    The following week, when Marla was dragging her intoxicated stepfather home, he drunkenly attacked and accidentally killed a woman at the nearby bus stop. The woman was carrying a large amount of cash. They hid her body in a trash can and took the money. Marla paid off her stepfather's debt to the boyfriend and told him she didn't want to see him anymore. He hinted that he had seen the murder and that he would turn her in if she didn't date him.

    Marla's Goal: Protect herself and her stepfather from the crime. Keep away from stalker boyfriend.
    Marla's Motivation: To stay out of jail and to keep her stepfather out of jail. Boyfriend is controlling and abusive.
    Marla's Conflict: Boyfriend threatens to turn her and her stepfather into the police if she tries to call the authorities on him. He will use his family's influence to help keep himself out of trouble.

  8. The boyfriend is a cop and able to use his position to protect himself.


    She's on the run from something, living under an assumed identity and can't risk going to the authorities for fear of revealing her secret.

  9. Marla's Goal: Find the money extorted from her family's company.

    Marla's Motivation: They'll go belly-up without it and have to let all their employees go.

    Marla's Conflict: The ex is the only one who can prove her father didn't do it.

  10. Fun idea, L! (And I like that one, Dawn!)


    Goal: To get rid of boyfriend without involving the cops.
    Motivation: The boyfriend has ties to an influtental family that would squash her like a bug if she got him in trouble.
    Conflict: She would lose her house, job, etc. and the family would just hire a great attorney to get the BF off, leaving her with nothing.

  11. Lynnette,

    Well, I know I'm late for this but I'm going to give it a try. You got me interested in GMCs, I bought the book you suggest, but still don't totally get it. I can write down the GMCs but I'm not sure if they are clear in my writing. Anyway, here goes:

    Goal: Marla plans to rob the bank with two close friends.
    Motivation: Marla has been poor all her life. She had to drop out of school to support her mother and now she's stuck in a dead in job and no hopes for anything better.
    Conflict: She became involved the man to find out the routine of deliveries made to the bank. With the information in hand, she breaks it off, but he won't go away. She can't go to the police because it would draw attention to her and jeopardize her plans.

  12. Everyone had some great ideas.