Sunday, January 08, 2012

STEP 4C (Sunday, Week 2):

Now let’s write the big middle. The beginning is short (half a page). The ending is also short (half a page). It’s the big middle that is what all storytelling is about. So now you are going to fill in the bottom half of page 1, all of page 2, and the top half of page 3 with your middle. Writing instructors claim that the middle (AKA: Act II) is where most stories fall apart. I agree.

So let’s fill up the middle with interesting events. Writing instructors call these plot points. I call them the "Oh-Shits" and the "Uh-Ohs". There are about 4-6 points in a movie about 15-20 minutes apart, after Act I, where things seem to be advancing and then dramatically fall apart. These are the "Oh-Shits" and the "Uh-Ohs".

Come up with 4-6 of these. Make each a small paragraph, in chronological order, and fill in the bottom half of page 1, all of page 2, and the top half of page 3. Re-write it into 3-5 pages. Put on a title sheet. Take it, along with $20, to the Writer’s Guild of America and register it. You have now written your first treatment.


Mission accomplished! My treatment is done. It's ugly and clumsy in some spots, but in no way a complete waste of time. Although story isn't fully formed, I can see how the pieces will fit together. It's much more coherent than I expected. I'll probably make some revisions before moving on to STEP 5.

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