Harlequin GMC Breakdown #1: The Nanny Proposition

Since I’m going to be participating in this year’s A-to-Z Challenge as well and I’ve been making strides there (and everywhere) where my plotting/outlining techniques are concerned, I’ve decided to extend this to one of the plotting methods I employee when I begin a story, the goal-motivation-conflict (or GMC).

A good book for GMC is Debra Dixon’s GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict. Pretty straightforward, but the text is a wonderful resource for writers, both seasoned and new.

I’m going to use Harlequin titles (not just specifically Harlequin Desire) to sift the heroes and heroines’ characterizations through the GMC plotting method. Cool?

If you’re an aspiring (or otherwise) writer, I hope this helps you out a bit. And of course, feel free to pick up the book above at Amazon or B&N (or your local bookstore or library) and read along!

Amazon (US)


Our first GMC break down is using Rachel Bailey’s The Nanny Proposition:

Two babies…one scandalous secret!

Discovering he’s the father of an orphaned newborn rocks botanist Liam Hawke’s world. But that’s where nanny Jenna Peters fits in—a single mother herself, she immediately works her magic on his newborn daughter. Soon Liam himself can’t resist being spellbound by this beauty.

Jenna tries to keep her irresistible boss at arm’s length but it’s a losing battle. Once Liam finds out who she really is, she’ll have to say goodbye to the man she loves and their unconventional family…unless the seductive single dad makes her a proposition this undercover princess can’t refuse!

Shall we then?




External goal: to ensure the Clancys don’t take Bonnie from him with their threats of a custody battle and that’s why he needs Jenna to show him how to be a good father

Why: (still needs to be developed) Liam comes from a background valuing family; he seems close to his brothers and his mother and father, it would make sense he wants Bonnie to be a part of that

Why now?: Bonnie is motherless now – she needs care even more, and he’s ready to play both roles as father and mother

External conflict(s): the custody battle, attracted to Jenna, whatever history he had with Rebecca, being from a family of ‘new’ wealth, etc.

Internal needs: He wants to be a good father – doesn’t like that he’s judged by his money; a strong, primal desire to be a father and worried he’s going to fail at it has him clinging to Jenna’s support

Why?: Because he has this image of himself of being family-oriented and he can’t be anything less, and he also doesn’t want to get hurt if he opens up

Internal conflict(s): He’s judgmental about those who are born into wealth and privilege

CHARACTER: Jenna Larsen

External goal: to protect her daughter and be self-sufficient to care for them now that she’s run from the wealthy and powerful protection of her home country and royal family

Why?: she’s left her home country and she needed the job – she owes a lot to the Hawke family so far

Why now?: Liam is offering her more and for the chance to spend time with her daughter, Meg

External conflict(s): her history with her family, the autocratic, hot pull to Liam that reminds her of how her family easily asserted themselves, etc.

Internal needs: She wants to stand on her own two feet – and she’s never considered it but she wants to have a dream; would love to have a family and warmth

Why?: Her family is great, but duty comes first and there’s a lot of concern with outward appearance rather than mental and emotional health

Internal conflict(s): She’s opening her eyes to the world she was raised on and although she loved parts of her childhood, she wished she never had to hide Meg and going back to that world scares her; it also doesn’t help that she’s falling for Liam and his little girl – they need her, more she could say for her family, and that feels good

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