Monday, August 23, 2010
Story Milestones / Beats
I've tried to apply this structure to my work-in-progress, Bon Secour. And, I've been studying each of the Thrillers I've been reading to see if and how these books conformed to this structure.
• The opening scene(s) of your story.
• A hooking moment in the first 20 pages (10 pages for a screenplay). The hook is something that grabs the reader very early in the read and makes them want to stick around.
The First Plot Point isn’t necessarily the occurrence of something big. Rather, it’s the moment when the ramifications and implications of it become clear to the reader, and usually to the protagonist (but not necessarily the latter), to the extent that it defines the forthcoming story-journey that lies ahead.
• A context-shifting Mid-Point, at precisely the middle of the story. The Mid-Point is defined as a moment when new information that enters the story squarely in the middle of it, that changes the contextual experience and understanding of either the reader, the hero, or both.
• A second Pinch Point, at about the 5/8ths mark, or in the middle of Part 3. A pinch point is defined as an example, or a reminder, of the nature and implications of the antagonistic force, that is not filtered by the hero’s experience. We see it for ourselves in a direct form. This pinch point is sometimes described as the 'All Is Lost' moment.
• The second plot point, at about the 75th percentile. The Second Plot Point: the final injection of new information into the story, after which no new expository information may enter the story, and which puts a final piece of narrative information in play that gives the hero everything she or he needs to become the primary catalyst in the story’s conclusion; at this point the story shifts into resolution mode, based on this new information or some decision or action on the part of the hero or the antagonist.
• The final resolution scene(s).
It is not suprising that Thriller/Suspense movies follow this structure.
What has been suprising is how closely the best Thriller/Suspense novels follow this structure.
I think there is some truth to the theory that this structure is organic, a part of our sub-conscious. It's the way the best story tellers have always told stories.