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Dramatica & GMC?

Posted: May 30, 2008 9:37 am
by Chris Huntley
venusEnvy -- Dramatica & GMC?

Please forgive me if this topic has been gone over on the boards, or if I've missed something in the program and tutorial altogether, but I've been wondering how the MC elements align with GMC (Goal Motivation Conflict).

As far as I've been able to piece together, the MC Concern looks a lot like the Goal, Issue like the Motivation, and Problem as the Conflict. Is this correct, or do the Concern, Issue and Problem fill in the spaces AROUND the GMC?


venusEnvy Re: Dramatica & GMC? #1

Actually, I think I was on the right track but didn't take it as far as I could have.

The MC's and IC's Goal seems to go with their Dramatica Concern, their U.A. with their Motivation, and their Problem with their Conflict.

For example, it is the MC's U.A. that makes them uniquely able to solve the OS Problem, and it's the IC's U.A. that makes it uniquely possible for them to propel the MC into making the change necessary for the story to be resolved (i.e., overriding their Conflict, or Problem, which is the same as the OS's Problem).


Chris Huntley Re: Dramatica & GMC? #2

I'm not familiar enough with GMC to speak cogently about how it matches up with the Dramatica model.

Here is an uneducated guess.

Goal -- Probably equates to the Overall Story Goal or Concern, the area everybody in the story is either for or against.

Motivation -- This sounds like it might be tied to what drives the Main Character (not the protagonist) to address his or her personal issues. This might equate with MC Problem since the problem is the source of conflict and drive for the MC.

Conflict -- I a bit at a loss since Dramatica sees conflict appearing everywhere in the story. In fact, in Dramatica, a story is an analogy to a human mind trying to resolve an inequity--an imbalance. I would venture to guess that the "conflict" reference aludes to the conflict implied by the difference between the Overall Story Goal and the motivation provided by the Main Character's personal problems.

If you can point me to a descripton of GMC, I might be able to give a better informed reply.

Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.

venusEnvy Re: Dramatica & GMC? #3

Thanks for the quick reply, Chris.

Right now the concept of GMC may be unique to novels, or perhaps to certain novel genres, like romance, for example.

Pride and Prejudice is listed among Dramatica's examples, and is consistent with the GMCs of both the main character (Elizabeth) and the impact character (Darcy). In this case, the MC (heroine) and IC (hero) would not have a story without the other. Darcy is uniquely able (IC U.A., Rationalization) to influence Elizabeth to address her personal problem (MC Problem, Temptation) which in turn helps her solve the story's goal (OS Concern & Story Goal, The Future). To sum it up simply, because Darcy keeps pursuing Elizabeth even though she is of lower status (which he was first prejudiced about), Elizabeth is able to get past her own feelings of pride because he snubbed her, and they have their Happily Ever After, which was their shared goal all along (MC Concern, Obtaining & IC Concern, Changing One's Nature) even though they didn't recognize this.

The M/I (or SS) throughline seems to back this up. If we look at the M/I Concern (Innermost Desires), Catalyst (Closure) and Problem (Uncontrolled), they work along the same lines for the OS as the IC does for the MC. In this case, the OS Concern is Future, the Catalyst is Openness, and the Problem is Temptation. However, I would need more time and Pinot Grigio in order to theorize on that more!

But back to GMC. It is a little more complex than I originally mentioned, and as I wasn't sure how universal the concept was I didn't know how much I needed to explain. In any story, the main and impact characters each have a goal, a reason for wanting that goal, and the reason why they can't quite attain that goal yet. But wait -- there's more. In my novel writing research, the idea is expanded into both the MC and the IC having external and internal GMCs, which if done correctly are inexorably bound, both within their own and each other's. (Austen does this perfectly, in my opinion.)

For more reading on GMC, there is Debra Dixon's GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict, The Building Blocks of Good Fiction (1996), ISBN: 0-9654371-0-8

Chris Huntley Re: Dramatica & GMC? #4

Thanks for the clarification. It helps a bit. What GMC sounds like to me is a standard of measure that writers may use to see if the story dynamics (or story points) are present as they relate to key characters within a story.

My guess is that GMC roughly translates in Dramatica to:

Goal = Concern
Motivation = Problem
Conflict = Symptom

In this way you can look for the GMC in the MC and IC throughlines to get a sense of what they are about storywise.

The reference to an internal GMC and external GMC makes me think of the MC and IC throughlines as Internal, and OS and MC/IC throughlines as External. The players that represent the MC and IC also represent "characters" in the OS and "MC/IC."

Beyond that, I suspect that there may be great similarity between the two story paradigms, but also many differences. One advantage Dramatica has is that it maintains a single context within which ALL four throughlines work sa opposed to the fixed set of references and a moveable context that the GMC appears to have.

Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.

venusEnvy Re: Dramatica & GMC? #5

I like the idea of external GMC = OS & MI throughlines and internal GMC as MC and IC throughlines. I'll keep plugging away at this idea!

And I do love how Dramatica is so thorough and reflects all sides of the author's argument. It does seem to incorporate GMC, and you're right, it encompasses so many more facets of a story than GMC can provide, and does so in a completely logical format.

(But I'm still glad that I am aware of the concept of GMC! )