[Today we're reading Ch. 3 The Subject is an Action…not a Person, from Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters by Michael Tierno (2002).]
I like this chapter because it makes me revisit things I already know about plot, but in a fresh way.
Let’s go back to basics:
Each scene must be connected together to form a story spine. Or SPINE = PLOT.
Unfortunately, I see spec plots/spines with a lot of fat on them. Or the writer tries to fuse on a useless spine. Or subplots herniate into the spine and stop the story. .
Why does this happen?
- “[Aristotle] knew that writers [are] often fooled into thinking that because they used one hero throughout an entire story, this alone unified their plots.”
- If the actions are not probable or necessary, the effects will not be not probable or necessary.
How to create good cause-effect scenes? Make sure the action-idea pushes every scene.
Ex. I saw a script about a woman losing her high flying job, and now must start over by helping the common folk she once scorned. The action-idea was that she had to help these folks succeed. Her success was tied to their success, so there wasn’t room for excess action.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED: You need connected, cause-effect scenes to make sure electricity can flow through. If there are bad scenes, the electricity stops.
[DISCLAIMER: I have not been asked, nor paid, to read or comment on this book.]