Plotting your fiction novel a la Avatar

Cameron's characters, Jake and Neytiri have vastly conflicting goals that create good conflict in Avatar.

This is the third of a three-part blog about what you can learn from James Cameron’s hugely successful film, Avatar.

 In parts one and two, universal theme, high stakes, and new twists were discussed. Today, we’ll look at the tried-and-true concept of GMC .. or GMCD (Goal-Motivation-Conflict-Disaster).

Solid story, good old GMC. Cameron’s stories are character-driven, his characters highly motivated and invested in their stories. This engages the reader and makes him or her care about the characters’ fates, as well, creating memorable, satisfying stories.  Because character-driven plotting makes for seamless, compelling stories, it’s my favorite workshop to present.                                                    

See Avatar.  Use it for the colorful, fantastic inspiration it is to create your own best work.  I’ll leave you with the delicious tidbit that inspired this column.  It’s taken from James Cameron’s February, 2010 TED talk.

Cameron says:   Take risks.  NASA has this phrase that they like to use: “Failure is not an option.” But failure has to be an option in art and in exploration because it’s a leap of faith.  No important endeavor that required innovation was done without risk. You have to be willing to take those risks. So that’s what I’d leave you with, is that, in whatever you’re doing, failure is an option–but fear is not.



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