Alphabet Soup

Dear Readers:

I stifled my anxiety about finding another topic for my fledgling novel and listened to the first night’s lecture. The title of the class was Planning and Structuring the Novel. Sounded simple enough. Connie, the instructor, started lecturing about GMC aka Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Sounded easy enough. Connie defined what each meant and referred to our text, which used The Wizard of Oz as an example. Since I was six years old, I thought I knew what Dorothy, Auntie Em, and the Wicked Witch of the West were up to. However, I soon learned that they each had a clearly stated external GMC (the action part of the story) and an internal GMC (the emotional reason for what they did in the story.) Next Connie explained how we would each write a plot question which was to be answered by our plot sentence. Oh, and later we’d tackle the Four Act Plotting Plan, Twenty Things that Can Happen, the Eight Step Plotting Technique, Character Interviews, the Scene Progress List, and the Working Synopsis. I caught myself thinking this sounded more complicated than the physiological explanation why acid-base balance was so important in laboratory results. And, by the way, we needed to have ten proof-read pages ready to present at our next monthly meeting, and don’t forget to sign-in daily to the college website to read posted student questions and concerns, retrieve helpful worksheets, and down-load mini-lectures sent electronically. And those first ten pages had to be zingers because the first sentence, first paragraph, and first chapter would determine whether the readier kept on reading or “threw your book at the nearest wall.” Feeling a headache starting, I drove home wondering what I had gotten myself into. The plot thickens.

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