Once or twice a year, my RWA chapter hosts a Super Saturday, an all day program with a heavy hitter in the world of romance. Today we hit the jackpot with the amazing Debra Dixon of GMC fame. Yes - the women who literally wrote the book. If you ever have the opportunity to see Deb live - jump on it. (But not on her. She won't take kindly to that). I can't even begin to tell you how much I learned today. Aside from being warm and genuine, Deb is a master teacher who kept the entire audience riveted. So, I'd like to share a few gems she bestowed upon us.
First - watch a lot of movies and keep a movie journal. Keep track of the structure. You can use that info in your books. In the interest of time, you get more bang for your buck watching scores of movies than reading scores of books. (Of course, read, read, read as well).
The Goal is one of the following - posession, revenge or relief. It must be important enough to make your character do something they don't want to.
Motivation makes your character believable. It's the reason they can't turn back, their emotional baggage.
Her charming and no-bull description of Conflict: Two dogs, one bone. I love the simplicity! You must have conflict - it tests your character and forces them to grow.
Deb also spent the afternoon speaking about the Big Black Moment, which she describes as a living, breathing organism you build to. All scenes lead to the BBM. You can have several gray moments to give the reader a false sense that the character will be able to surmount the BBM. The character must solve their own BBM. No one else can solve it for them.
These are only a few points Deb made in the course of the day chocked full of insights and invaluable lessons. If you don't own her Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction, you should order it today. I've had this book for a year now and have read it several times. If you're lucky enough to take one of Deb's workshops, act like a sponge and absorb everything!
Stay tuned to this blog in the coming months. Deb has promised me she'll guest blog!!! You won't want to miss that one.