Welcome back author Bri Clark today to the Book Boost!
She's here to discuss Goal, Motivation and Conflict...
My editor at Astraea Press (Stephanie Taylor) and I were discussing submissions one day. She was expressing her dismay at having to reject so many. She’s wore the author cap too. She knows the sting. Nevertheless, she said she couldn’t accept a novel of any kind lacking GMC. GMC…I repeated. What’s that? Goals, Motivation, Conflict she explained…, which is what, spurred this post.
Goals: A story needs to have goals for the overall book as well as for the characters to keep the reader moving. Especially the main characters…however even the supporting characters need something to reach for. Take Shae Stryker in Glazier. She is a strong, sassy southern woman married to Collin Stryker a weapons analyst. Each one has goals… however, sometimes when there are strong secondary’s their goals may cross over with the protagonists thus creating drama and conflict. However, that’s for another post. If there are no goals, the story isn’t going anywhere. Really, a novel without purpose is like watching a cat chase a mouse in a circle. Its fun the first two times after that then the yawns begin—or worse they put the book down with an eye roll.
Motivation: This area in my opinion is really about your characters, the good the bad and the boring. Yes, I need to know why the boring characters are so boring! Readers need to know why the villain is so disturbed and why the hero fights so hard to do what is right. I’ll use Henry Tenison in Glazier. Decorated soldier, elite spy, lifetime scoundrel and the only other known Glazier in the world—he has never felt emotions for someone like he does Marie. Is it a bond forged through Glazier? Is it genuine affection? And the passion is nothing he could even dream of…but yet he doesn’t act upon it…why? In order for us as readers to connect with the characters we have to know their motivation, what drives them; better yet, we have to be shown.
Conflict: What is a happy conclusion without the journey? Really, it’s not even an ending it’s just knowledge. While happy is great, we don’t really get it without sad to be its counter balance. Thus conflict is born. Along with conflict there need to be all kinds of elements and layering into the story. For example in Glazier, the ultimate conflict is what the heck is Glazier anyway? Is it a genetic superpower or is it something supernatural? Then there is the conflict of the protagonists Henry and Marie. They each share Glazier so they share the plot conflict but then they each have their own personal trials along the way. Oh, how I love it when the personal conflicts of each person weave together then when overcome more conflict is found and a series erupts. In case you were wondering, Glazier is the first of a series.
The point is it doesn’t matter the genre, voice or publisher if there is not GMC the possibility for success is needlessly hindered.
A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for breaking that down for us, Bri. And Congrats on your newest release! Please tell us more.
Marie Kincaid suffering the greatest loss a woman can know runs from the pain. Falling asleep deep within the forest she awakes in an infirmary with a loss of memory and a power, she’s always possessed yet never known: Glazier. Glazier enables Marie to embark on a new life free of pain but most importantly free of the past. Heightened senses, accelerated strength, speed, and learning abilities make Marie a perfect candidate to be a spy…also a perfect companion for Henry Tenison…the only other known Glazier.
Henry, a loner and proud rogue finds his world upended when his connection to Marie is forged through Glazier. Unsure of how to progress with any relationship with her he endeavors to keep it strictly platonic and professional. As far away, missions and romantic surroundings entice him into pursuing his deeper desires he caves. However, Marie’ love changes everything.
Determined to free them both of the spy world and hold Abram their superior has over them Henry implements a plot to disappear. However, when things become dangerous in their latest mission, their first undercover, and memories of Marie’s past surface suggesting another man…will Henry’s efforts prove to come too late? If Marie remembers her past, will she still want their future.
"I can’t let myself do this to you.” Hearing his explanation brought a fire back but it wasn’t passion, it was fury.
“What! Do this to me?” I cried. So sudden was my anger that he was taken off guard.
Untwisting my arm, I pulled my legs up under his chest, and flipped him over the back of the couch. However, he didn’t let go of my arm and took me with him. After I landed on his chest, he huffed from the impact. I jumped up but he still held on to my wrist. As he tried to stand, I kicked his legs out from under him. We both fell to the floor again. That was it. I was beyond mad, I was furious.
“Just wait a second, let me explain, Love,” he implored.
“Love! Oh now I’m your love again when you see that I'?m about to kick your butt. Five minutes ago, I was one of your little harlots you seduced and couldn’t let…UGH!” I tried jumping up, but he still had my arm in a steel tight grip that now ached. “If you don’t let go of my arm, I swear I will rip yours right from the socket.”
Still holding firm he raised his free hand palm forward as we faced each other.
“Now just relax a blooming minute, Marie. Let me explain. I…”
“You can explain all you want. But I see everything. I am going to give you till the count of five to let go of my arm, Henry.” I warned.
“ONE,” I started.
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You mean everything to me, I…” he tried again.
“Would you please quit counting you’re making it hard to think? It’s hard enough to think clearly just looking at you.”
“FIVE!” I screamed. That was it, hard for him to think! As if I was some kind of villain, I punched him.
“OOOWWW. What happened to four?” With his grip even stronger, he spun me into his chest.
When he tried to wrap his other arm around me to trap me in his grasp, my head whipped back, and I popped him right in the nose. Shouting in pain, he let go and I fell to the floor. I hadn’t expected him to drop me. Rolling to my left side, I couldn’t find any part of me that wasn’t hurting.
My heart ached from rejection, my throat hurt from sobbing, and my eyes hurt from the tears.
Hugging my knees to my chest, I laid my head to the wood in defeat.
Want More Bri?
Bri Clark is a real example of redemption and renewal. Growing penniless in the South, Bri learned street smarts while caring for her brother in a broken home. She watched her mother work several jobs to care for their small family. Once her brother could fend for himself, Bri moved on to a series of bad choices including leaving school and living on her own. Rebelliousness was a strong understatement to describe those formative years. As a teenager, her wakeup call came from a fight with brass knuckles and a judge that gave her a choice of shaping up or spending time in jail. She took that opportunity and found a way to moved up from the streets.
She ended up co-owning an extremely successful construction business. She lived the high life until the real estate crash when she lost everything. She moved west and found herself living with her husband and 4 kids in a 900 square foot apartment. She now fills her time, writing, blogging, leading a group of frugal shoppers and sharing her southern culture. Her unique background gives her writing a raw sensibility. She understands what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles. She often tells friends, “I can do poor. I’m good at poor. It’s prosperity that I’m not used to.” Bri and her husband Chris live in Boise. Bri is known as the Belle of Boise for her true southern accent, bold demeanor and hospitable nature.
Bri boasts several positions in the publishing industry. An author, professional reviewer, blogger, and author platform consultant she enjoys all aspects of her career from the creation of story to the branding and marketing needed to make her books successful.