Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Story Structure: Turning Point 2 - Change of Plans

The second turning point in Michael Hauge’s story structure is the end of the first act. By now, the characters have been introduced, the situation has been set up and the adventure is about to start in earnest. Vogler calls this point in the story the Threshold. I like this image. It speaks of the protagonist crossing into unfamiliar territory, going on a journey.

This is the point when the hero commits to the adventure completely. Things are going to get uncomfortable for your characters now they have been shoved out of their comfort zones. Why are your characters going to do this? Why haven’t they just refused the call to adventure and stayed home with their feet up? Because to achieve their goals they are going to have to act. They want what they want more than they want a comfortable life. Motivation at this point is key. Make it strong. Make it believable. Make the stakes high.

At the ‘Change of Plans’ your protagonist(s) is going to make a decision that pushes the story in another direction.

Pretty Woman:
Instead of sending Vivian back to Hollywood Boulevard, Edward offers her $3000 to spend the week with him. Why? He has business to do and he needs a companion, but he doesn’t want to get emotionally entangled with anyone, and this causes him to make an unusual decision. Vivian accepts because she needs the money – her goal is to get out of her business and do something more with her life.

You’ve Got Mail:
Fox Books opens. Up until now, Kathleen has been coasting along in her life and living in the past. (Have you noticed that this is what her boyfriend represents – someone who is so fixated on living in the past he sees modern technology as some kind of evil?) Now Kathleen is going to have to look forward and act if she wants to save her shop. She’s not exactly a willing adventurer, but she has no choice; the battle has begun.

Notting Hill:
I think the turning point here is when Anna finally stops shilly-shallying and asks William if he would like to have dinner with her. Up until this point she’s been sending very mixed signals and, finally, she makes her mind up one way or the other. Her desire to find that special someone has overridden her desire for self-protection and she's willing to take a chance on trying something new - dating an 'ordinary' guy.


Janet said...

Hi Fiona, I know you like to use a plot board so had to share this extreme version with with you.


Fiona Harper said...

Eeek! At least the flurry of post-its in the middle make it look like he's not going to have a sagging middle!

Mel said...

And I thought I love post-its.