Step 4 – Plot

GOAL: Identify your narrative’s five most critical plot points.
DELIVERABLES: 1-2 pages document that describes each of the 5 Key Plot Points and all characters involved in each plot point (player, ghost, Key NPC, etc.)

The Biggest Moments

From the exploration brainstorm ideas, identify the 5 biggest moments within the standard 3-Act structure. Not all plot ideas will fit the A plot story, sort then, and keep B and C plot ideas separate to focus on the A plot points.

  • What are the conventions and obligatory scenes of the Genre?
  • What is the Beginning Hook, the middle built up and Ending payoff?
  • What is the protagonist objects of desire?

They include:

  • The SETUP
    • Set-Up the protagonist’s journey by identifying their “status quo”.
    • What does his/her “external” world look like?
    • What is his/her emotional/psychological state?
    • What is the tried & true “inciting incident”?
  • END OF ACT I REVEAL
    • What’s the key moment (Reveal) that sends the Protagonist into conflict?
      • It has to be something that is happening to the protagonist, not something that he went to look for.
    • What changes his/her world?
    • How is he/she put in danger?
    • How does this affect their emotional/psychological state?
    • What is the new motivation?
  • The MIDPOINT
    • Where the stakes are explicitly raised; the “ticking clock” starts; and/or the antagonist(s) put the squeeze on our hero.
    • Something that might have a consequence later, definitely something game-changing.
    • The bigger the length of the experience, the more likely this needs to be a motivation change.
  • The BREAK
    • What is the moment when “All is Lost” and there is no hope?
    • What is the moment that “breaks” our protagonist?
    • What is the major setback to the protagonist’s plans?
    • This is as far as the character can go without deeply changing its ways.
    • This final test will put him/her into a profound failure state.
    • How do they dial it in to face the seemingly insurmountable conflict ahead?
    • This moment of doubt will bring the NEED to the surface.
  • The BATTLE
    • How does the story conclude?
    • What does the final battle between the Protagonist and Antagonist look like?
    • How has the story transformed the Protagonist?
    • What has the protagonist (and any other applicable character) learned?
    • What does your post-conflict denouement look like?

“Why isn’t everything exploding?!”

Michael Bay