Step 5 – Arcs

GOAL:  Identify your narrative five most critical thematics moments. Where THEME changes characters and/or the world over an arc.
DELIVERABLES: 1-2 pages document that describes each of the 5 Key Thematic Points and all characters involved in each point (player, ghost, Key NPC, etc.)

I/ The Meaningful Moments

From the exploration brainstorm ideas or new ideas, identify the 4 most important moments where the THEME is revealed and/or the Protagonist’s NEED is expressed. Those are the moments where there is a state change in the protagonist, Key NPCs, or in the world.

The thematic story goes through those Key Moments (SETUP, TESTS, REVELATION, CHANGE, SUCCESS).

Identify them from the brainstorm ideas.

Once identified or created new ones, map them on the 3 Act Structure:

  • WANT
    • The character WANTs something but the unfulfilled NEED doesn’t allow him to have it. It’s an unsatisfying equilibrium for the protagonist.
    • What does the character WANT?
    • What is his/her goal?
    • Why can’t he get it right now?
    • What would be a good scene where the character’s action reveals his WANT and NEED. Not through dialogue.
  • TESTS
    • Tests, challenges, criticism that the character faces and start to make him/her question his/her circumstances upon being thrust into the story.
    • What are the challenges that the character can encounter on his way to his goal?
    • What is the criticism that other characters can have?
  • POST BREAK REVEAL (REVELATION)
    • After the “All is lost” moment, the character is as down as he can be. It’s a break in the action, a moment to reflect and understand what he did wrong. Make a decision to act differently.
    • He now knows what to do!
    • This moment of doubt will bring the NEED to the surface and a revelation on how to behave differently or keep
  • The THEMATIC REVEAL (CHANGE)
    • The character has found a new thrust with this new revelation. He will eventually change his ways to fully embrace the reveal of the NEED.
    • From the POST BREAK REVEAL, the Character started acting differently and now confirms his new path.
    • How does “want” and “need” come together to overcome the challenge?
    • What action does the character do that is a clear moral choice?
    • The character finally became what he needed to become. He learned what he had to learn. His need is fulfilled.
    • What’s the point of view?
  • The NEW STATE (RESOLUTION)
    • What is the new state of things?
    • A new equilibrium has been created. Things are different. The protagonist, or a Key NPC, or the World.

II/ Premise update

Go back to the Premise. Is the information written down still valid? If no, write down the new one now that you know the Story better.


“You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are.” 

Joss Whedon