This past January, little introverted me braved the waters and went to her first ever Georgia Romance Writers meeting. I only wish I had known about this organization sooner. That very first meeting, a wonderful person pulled me aside and asked me if I knew about Deb Dixon’s book, Goals, Motivation, and Conflict. I shook my head no and wondered to what she was referring. That same day I drove home and ordered a copy of the book off of the website she recommended (this alone told me the person who recommended it to me is definitely a person who knows about her craft because she saved me around a hundred dollars.)
I read the book and wondered about the line that said that finding goals, motivations and conflicts would become invasive and that writers look for goals, motivations and conflicts all the time.
Additionally, I had the honor of listening to Ms. Dixon present a major speech based on her book at this year’s Moonlight and Magnolias conference. In addition to reading her book, I now heard her information presented to me, yet another way of assimilating the information contained in the book.
If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. Ms. Dixon presents a new way of looking at characterization that I had never realized before I read it.
To my surprise, I discovered she was right. I do analyze other works to discover character’s goals, motivations, and conflicts. Last night, my wonderful hubby and I went to a retro screening of It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Throughout the movie, I found myself thinking about George Bailey and how his goals and motivations were thwarted at every turn. I also found myself thinking about Mr. Potter’s goals, motivations and conflicts. I wondered for the first time if Mr. Potter knew exactly how much George Bailey meant to him. It can’t be very much fun to have your flunkies do your bidding all the time. George provided him with a challenge, a reason to get out of bed. Without George around, what was Mr. Potter going to do? How would he enjoy life with no conflict in it?
Needless to say, I love It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a marvelous movie and I find something new every time I watch it. This time in addition to the new analysis of it, I noticed that the crony that’s always in back of Mr. Potter is listed in the credits as his bodyguard. Hmm, that was telling. For the first time, I saw the guy in the scenes but thought he was the only friend Potter had, a fellow crony who delighted in suppressing the dreams and hopes of the citizens of Bedford Falls. Instead, the guy was his bodyguard.
But I digress. As a write-at-home mom, I am now searching out character’s goals, convicts and motivations. This book influenced not only my writing but also the way I approach movies and other books. What books relating to your career have influenced you?