Google ‘screenplay structure’ and you’ll soon end up with a massive headache.
There are hundreds and hundreds of different approaches. There is some overlap but this makes it harder, not easier, to make sense of it all.
The same is true with structuring novels and plays but when I’ve researched how to structure those, you don’t read things like: ‘If you don’t write it exactly as I’ve told you – with plot points planned to the second, you will utterly fail.’
My version is a combination of those I have studied.
I would say the five main plot points are:-
1. The Inciting Incident (sets everything in motion (eg. someone dies, falls in love)
2. The Lock In (the point of no return)
3. Midpoint (reversal of fortune, where the victim starts fighting back)
4. Climax (the high point of emotional intensity (eg. the chase scene, the battle, self-sacrifice, death, the reveal)
5. Resolution (A coming together of all elements – often a celebration or sometimes a peaceful death)
In group, we used that to analyse our favourite films and then plotted out storylines of our own.
This Week’s Homework
Bring an idea for a story in terms of either:
a) a summary
b) a ‘once upon a time’ type children’s story (this also works with stories for adults)
c) A storyboard
d) A graph/table showing how you’ve used the plot points to structure the story.
If you want to be part of a similar group where you discuss ideas and share your work, click here.
(Don’t worry – you don’t need to live in Suffolk. I also run courses online.)