Tuesday, April 5, 2011

GMC...The Challenge

From Goal Motivation & Conflict: The building Blocks of Good Fiction by Debra Dixon. (pg 117)
  1. Take ten to fifteen minutes to work up a GMC on one character. Create a completely new character and do not use the story you are currently working on
  2. Write a scene.  Allow yourself one hour to show GMC and get the book started.  The trick is to do this in the shortest amount of page space possible.  SHOW DON'T TELL.  And don't put more time into this exercise than one hour.
  3. The only unbreakable rule: Somewhere in the scene, your character must utter the phrase, "What's mine is mine, what's yours is up for grabs."
So this is the result of my exercise:

Kathleen’s knee’s shook as she walked into the conference room.  Her court appointed counsel looked shabby among the high powered attorneys that populated the room.  The mahogany conference table was polished to a glossy finish and surrounded by black leather and chrome chairs.  She looked down at the second hand dress she purchased from Goodwill yesterday in anticipation of this meeting.  It was clean, and fit well, but didn’t convey the image of the woman she knew she was; strong, confident, well educated and powerful.  Her hands strayed to the short curls that had so recently been long enough to pull into a power bun; the burns on her ear and neck reminding her why it was no longer long and beautiful.  She thought of the suits that hung in her closet, untouched since the night she had fled for her life, leaving her children against her better judgment.  What had she been thinking?  How could she leave her babies with that monster?

At the gentle touch of the mousy man standing next to her, she moved from the doorway into the center of the pool of sharks.  They circled her, scenting their prey.  She stiffened, cowering behind one of the leather chairs for safety, relying on the meek and mild mannered man next to her to come to her rescue.  Despite the posturing of the lions, he stood tall, staring down these men that were poised to attack.  He pulled out her chair for her, gifting her with a reassuring smile as he gestured for her to sit, barely glancing at her black eye as she removed her dark sunglasses.  The cast on her arm made it difficult for her to fold her glasses and put them in her purse, so she settled for resting them on the table in front of her, hiding her broken hand under the table.

Suddenly, the air shifted, and everyone turned.  Lifting her eyes, Kathleen saw him.  He was as beautiful as she remembered that day she met him.  She was a real estate agent selling high end homes in Boca Raton.  She had just started her own firm having broken ties with the firm she was working with in New York.  Things had been difficult to start.  She lived in her car during the first month, and then spent nights in the homes she was showing.  When she finally sold her first property, it was a six million dollar beach front house with a six percent commission; she was on her way.  She met Asher Jake when she was working with her thirteenth client.  That should have been the first sign.  Asher was her client's “newest discovery” on a project they were working on.  He brought Asher along to help him decide “which condo was chick worthy.”  That should have been the second sign.  It was easy to overlook these now oh, so obvious signs though because Asher was perfect in every way.  Not only was he every woman’s physical dream come true, but he was the perfect gentleman.

Within the month, Asher proposed.  He was an up and coming movie star, soon to be famous, gorgeous, and treated Kathleen like a queen.  There was just one catch.  Kathleen had to sign a prenuptial agreement.  Of course, this was to protect her, he said – because she had all the money. It was nothing personal, just business.  Kathleen understood.  After less than a year in business on her own, she had made not only a name for herself, but she had a few million of her own in the bank.  A prenup would protect her, it was just business.  The first year Asher worked hard, going on auditions, handing out resumes and tried to get noticed.  They lived comfortably off of Kathleen’s income, but promoting Asher in his new capacity cost money.  Soon, they were living paycheck to paycheck.

But then Asher made it big and most of his work was in California, so Kathleen gave up her real estate practice to move so they could live where Asher could get work.  Besides, Asher was making enough money for both of them, there was no reason for her to work, and after the kids were born, well, it just made more sense for her to stay home with them.  But then Asher started to change.  It was the little things at first.  He had a lot of jobs that were filmed on location.  Before the kids were born, Kathleen always went with Asher to the shoots, but afterwards, well, it was just too much stress on the kids, he said.  Then he would spend more time at the studio when he was filming at home. When she started questioning him, he would get angry.  When she demanded answers, he became violent.  When she found out the truth…

She glanced at Asher as he deliberately sat in the empty seat directly in front of her.  When she caught his eye he mouthed the word “prenup” and grinned wickedly.

His lawyers began the conversation “as per the prenuptial agreement, Ms. Jake is entitled to nothing.  Asher Jake is also entitled to sole custody of the children.  Ms. Jake is entitled to visitation on the weekends and every other Federal holiday.  We’ve drawn up a list of the assets.  The house and its contents were purchased with Mr. Jake’s earnings.  Thus, those belong to Mr. Jake.  Mr. Jake will allow Ms. Jake to keep her clothing and other personals, and Mr. Jake has consented to let her keep the BMW.  If you’ll just sign here, we can conclude this meeting rather quickly.”

Kathleen started to reach for the pen knowing full well what was in the agreement, after all, her attorney had drafted it, but her hand was stayed by her shy and quiet representative.  “As you know, the agreement does not apply if either party is forced to leave the marriage due to infidelity or assault.”

Asher smirked.  Kathleen looked at the table.  She hadn’t filed a police report the night she fled, fearing for the lives of the children she had left behind.  If she filed a police report, he had said, he would kill the children.  The infidelity was her word against his, unless she would come forward, and Kathleen doubted that would happen.  Jake had been too careful in his pursuits.  Even Kathleen hadn’t been certain until she made the accusation.

Slowly, deliberately, Kathleen’s reserved attorney pulled his briefcase into his lap.  Drawing a cell phone from the front pocket he pushed several buttons looking serene as he searched for the evidence that would save his client.  Placing the iPhone in the center of the table, Kathleen heard her screams echo through the plush conference room.  Knowing that even as they sat there police were on the way to the house to take custody of the children Kathleen rose, once again the strong, confident, powerful woman of her past.  Asher seemed to melt into his chair as she glared at him.  Smuggly, she said “What’s mine is mine.  What’s yours…is up for grabs.”  Turning on her heel, she strode, tall and confident, from the conference room.



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