While you wrote your nanovel, the guy at Screenwriting Tips has kept his thing running. Let’s see what he’s been up to…
442 You know how time becomes sort of elastic during action scenes in movies? You can replicate that in your script. Short words and clipped sentences when you want the action to skip along, bigger words and longer sentences when you want everything to slow down.
443 What’s Act Three? Act Three is your protagonist’s nightmare scenario, the worst thing that could possibly happen. If it had happened to her in Act One, she’d be curled up on the floor whimpering.
444 Pitching your script as a mash-up of two well-known films is just an opening gambit — it’s the ‘jumping on’ point so people will know what you’re talking about. Once you’ve got them, it’s time to tell them why your story’s different.
446 Look at structure this way: If the driving force of a story is the dramatic question, then it’s your job to keep reframing that question every fifteen pages.
447 Ticking clocks work best when the protagonist fails to defuse them in time, and then has to deal with the consequences. Combine that failure with the end-of-Act-Two ‘dark point’ for fun and profit.
448 Is your antagonist really dumb enough to fall for this obvious trick, come to this meeting without a backup plan, and lose his cool when he shouldn’t? Then he’s not a very scary antagonist, is he?
449 Give the protagonist what they want… right after they’ve realized they don’t want it any more.
450 Never interrupt when your characters are arguing with each other. Let them slug it out, then edit later.
451 When designing your antagonist, remember: evil doesn’t know it’s evil. Evil gets out of bed in the morning and goes to work with a song in its heart, knowing that what it’s doing is right.
454 In ensemble stories with lots of people in lots of locations, keep the boredom to a minimum by cutting at the points of biggest conflict. Cut away right on the twists and the big dramatic questions — the audience will squirm, but they’ll love you for it.
455 Thunderstorms do not automatically make your third act more bad-ass.
457 Scenes sagging? Lacking drama and conflict? Do the Worst Possible Outcome Test. It’s easy: Find the last time your protagonist made a major decision. Ask yourself, what’s the worst possible outcome of that decision? Then write that.
459 Don’t worry that you’re getting too far away from the ideal movie in your head. Not only is that entirely normal, it actually means you’re making progress.
460 The best plot twists are the ones that make a shocking amount of sense.
461 Everything doesn’t have to work out for the best. The mentor character who was dying at the dark point doesn’t have to be dancing at the wedding in Act Three.
462 Steal a trick from video games: Halfway through the story, take your protagonist’s best weapons away from her and see how she does without them.
464 Allowing the audience to know more than the protagonist is best used in Act 1 — it’s good for dramatic irony, building empathy and setting up. Allowing the protagonist to know more than the audience is best used in Act 3 to facilitate the final twist or reversal.
465 It’s best not to stick around too long after the Act Three climax, but don’t leave your audience hanging either. You spent all this time setting up the stakes — now show us the outcome, and how the protagonist’s world has changed for the better.
OK guys, time to disagree ;-)