Thursday, 8 August 2013

Breaking with traditional story structure

As I'm writing up my script it occurs to me that I'm breaking with the traditionally defined structure of screenwriting.

Traditionally, even after the first act is complete the next 30 minutes or so should show the protagonist still in some way "on top". He should still have an element of control over achieving his goal(s). But in my story I appear to offer no such hope.
All was well until around 30 minutes when I essentially closed the door on normal life. This typically happens at 60 minutes - the so-called point of no return. That point in every successful film where the protagonist (generally through a deliberate action) makes that step that means he can no longer return to the safety of normal life. Up unto that point that choice has always been there. At 60 minutes you cross the line. Despite the odds being stacked against him he must now stride on and complete the task in hand and achieve his goal.

In my script I offer a point of no return at 60 minutes but it is more of a "oh good Lord - this place has gripped me so tight - it is so utterly evil and full of despair that I will never leave. Unless..."

At this point I offer some hope. I offer a ray of light in that the protagonist has actually been thrown an opportunity to change himself. He has the chance to adapt and embrace his new environment and become a better person. He is a million miles from normal and his beloved home life but strangely he finds comfort in his new, hostile environment and has a new found urge to overcome it. To beat it and return to normal.

This is a ghostly tale where I have defined an entire folklore. I hope that I pull it off.

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