Tuesday, January 12, 2010

BOOK CLUB: Ends as Means (Ch. 6)

[Today we're reading Ch. 6 The Ends Are Always The Means of the Plot, from Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters, by Michael Tierno (2002).]

You’d think that writers would start with the end in mind. However, I often see scripts with flat endings. It’s as if the journey changed the ending and it no longer fits.

The difference between a “false Act 3 problem” and a “true Act 3 problem” is the setup.

If the plot is properly setup, Act 3 is a snap.

If the plot is not properly setup, it’s a “false Act 3” problem, and the writer should go back to Acts 1 & 2. (This is the majority of cases.)

If the plot is properly setup & Act 3 is still a problem, then it’s a “true Act 3” problem. Usually this means that the climax was too abrupt (ex. the character learned his lesson in one paragraph).

Or the writer is trying to shoehorn an improved story into the original ending that no longer fits.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Keep asking yourself in each scene: “Are we there yet?” b/c it will tell you what to do to get there.

[DISCLAIMER: I have not been asked, nor paid, to read or comment on this book.]

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