Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Applying What You Learn at Conferences

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to hear Debra Dixon, author of Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

I first heard of "GMC" through Seekerville.  Here are a few great posts:

Tina Radcliffe on Why I Love GMC
Deb Dixon's Seekerville Post
GMC Chart for One of Missy Tippens' Books

Wow, this was a packed conference.  I was even fortunate enough to connect with a few ACFW members and find out information about some of the face to face groups and opportunities in my area. 

One of my most valuable conference takeaways was the fact that Debra asked us to take two sets of notes.  One on what she was saying and another set entitled "My Story."  She explained that our story and application should be the bulk of our notetaking.

Now I have to admit I do try to apply what I learned to my story, but taking this set of notes made me far more conscious of the fact that if I don't apply what I learn I've wasted my time.

Debra first had us write down our expectations of the day, what we were specifically hoping to learn in terms of improving our story.  I plan to take note of this from now on when I listen to audio conferences.

So I asked myself: How can I build sense of urgency even further in the scene where Rachel ______________(her action)?

I named the starter goal in my story, then listed items that gave Rachel's goal increased urgency.  Examples for this particular character are: abuse, her own thought processes, fear of being replaced, and the loss of a family member.

In which spots along the way do I need to make Rachel's goals more clear?  When the characters' goals have changed is it obvious to the reader?  How can I ramp up the conflict in every single scene?

I find as a result of the conference I am asking these questions as I write my scenes.

I really suggest if you're having a hard time putting GMC into practice, journaling the GMC for several movies.  Once you've done that I think it really helps charting the goals, motivations, and conflicts of your characters to come more easily.

Have you ever attended a conference or listened to relevent audio on writing?  What tips do you have that have helped you apply what you've learned to your writing?