Reply To: LESSON 3 – External GMC


Emily Marsh

Okay, I am all gnarled up in internal and external plot and motivation and where they are supposed to begin and how all that connects to a single, clear GMC. Which might be why Ch 1 lacks focus? Anyway, here is what I’ve got. This is all for my POV MC — MC 2 (the love interest) has a lot of his own stuff going on, but that’s not on here.

Internal Plot: (Starts in Ch. 1)

Where she is as the book opens: Pretty miserable. She has prioritized her family’s interests/the life she has been brought up to expect to the point that she is about to marry a guy she loves as a friend rather than as a romantic partner and take a job that she’s good at, but that she finds dull and useless at her family’s law firm.

What she thinks she needs: A more positive outlook and specific gestures of commitment to the life she has chosen. Accordingly, she is pushing herself to do the following specific things that have specific stakes:

  • Set a date with her fiancée
  • Accept her father/senior law partner’s assignment to take on a major client as her own client rather than his in a move towards becoming a partner.

What she actually needs:

  • To find a relationship that satisfies her rather than settling for one she thinks SHOULD satisfy her. Once she meets Caleb (MC2), choosing that relationship over the one that seems like it should work is what she needs.
  • To find a job that allows her to help people while engaging her intellect rather than setting for one she thinks SHOULD satisfy her.

Conflict to getting what she actually needs:

  • Over-emphasis on pleasing her father because she loves him.
  • Over-emphasis on fulfilling her responsibility to her fiancée because she loves him.
  • Over-emphasis on meeting obligations to her family in the ways that she has been taught.
  • Confusion over what is causing her problems (she thinks she’s being too negative, when actually, she’s putting her own interests at too low a priority)

From this interconnected web of relationship goo, I extrapolate the following internal GMC for my MC at the book’s opening:

Goal: To set a date for her wedding and force herself to accept a professional role she does not want.

Motivation: She thinks it will make her feel less miserable to dive into the commitments she’s made so she won’t keep brooding on them.


  • She’s wrong about both of these things and part of her knows it, so she’s procrastinating because the idea of doing them makes her miserable.
  • Her fiancée also knows they shouldn’t marry and is trying to figure out how to break off the engagement without losing the friendship.
  • As the early part of the book develops, she falls for someone else and keeps putting her energy toward the kind of work she actually wants.

External plot (does not start in chapter one – starts more in chapter 6):

Goal: To get back her clients’ money from scam artists

Motivation: She wants to protect them and (as the story progresses) they are important to MC2


  • She has to prove that they’re being scammed in order to force the scam artists to give back the money.
  • (as story progresses) Proving they’re being scammed requires her to reveal that her family is in on the scam.

External Plot — Connection to Internal Plot:

  • Proximity to someone she actually wants to be in a LTR with helps her realize her mistakes re: fiancée.
  • Doing work she actually cares about (which he brings her into) helps her realize what she actually wants professionally.
  • When the life she wants/values she embraces comes into direct conflict with the life she has/values she has accepted from others, she confirms her choice of what she wants by choosing according to her own life/values rather than those she has been given.

Huh. I have rather a lot going on here, especially since I left out MC2’s stuff. Maybe this is too much/too complicated/the reason the book is too long? Argh. Comments welcome.



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