Master Cat! Ben Frahm continues his discussion with the importance of your idea being something old but new, or as Blake would say, “the same only different.”
Also, be sure to check out the news about Jeremy Garelick’s latest sale.
Master Cat! Ben Frahm begins his discussion with the importance of your idea being primal in this video from the Save the Cat! one-day event in Los Angeles this past January.
Guest blogger Hope Tarr is the award-winning author of more than 20 contemporary and historical romance novels including Operation Cinderella, the launch to her Suddenly Cinderella series for Entangled Publishing and Sugar, a contemporary erotic romance co-authored with Jenna Jameson (Skyhorse, October 2013). She is also a cofounder and current principal of Lady Jane’s Salon™, New York City’s first and still only monthly romance fiction reading series now in its fifth year with six satellite salons nationwide. Visit Hope online at www.HopeTarr.com, www.LadyJaneSalonNYC.com, www.Facebook.com/HopeC.Tarr and on Twitter @HopeTarr.
I’d hoped to begin this guest post with big news as in B-I-G news. At least that was my plan. But alas my B-I-G news is still parked in the contract negotiations that are part and parcel of any legally binding agreement. While I’m disappointed that my B-I-G news isn’t happening on my schedule, or yours, I’m also appreciative of the care and thoroughness being taken by all vested parties in sussing out the terms, rights, and responsibilities.
But then writing for publication is a “hurry up and wait” business and likely always will be. Be it a novel or a screenplay, or a transformation of your story from one medium to the other, writing is a marathon, not a sprint. In a sprint you can go for the proverbial gusto. You can race hell for leather. You can wear yourself out. You have that luxury—the luxury of being useless for some period of time afterward.
But in a marathon, most of us have got to pace ourselves. We’ve got to be tortoises, not hares. Slow and steady may not win the race, but it will see us through to finishing it. And really, isn’t that what winning is?
As one who’s completed three marathons and more than 20 published novels, the latter over a period of 13 years, I can say with confidence, even certainty, that winning this publishing race distills to one absolutely essential skill: pacing.
Like successful marathoners, writers in for the long haul know how to pace ourselves. We know how to endure. We know when to pull back and when to leap forward. We may not like it, we often don’t like it, but we know—and then discipline ourselves accordingly. Not because we are saints or in any way passionless about outcomes, but because we understand that success isn’t a matter of one book or one screenplay or any one project. It’s about a career. For every “overnight success,” there are scores of us approaching the finish line at a long, slow crawl—with the publishing equivalent of skinned knees and aching backs—and a reserve of raw talent and steely determination sufficient to fuel a freakin’ moon rocket.
And still sometimes even the most seasoned among us falter, even fail. As in Real Life, in fiction there are temptations to skip a step or cut a corner. I admit I am a not infrequent offender. Taken together, “The” and “End” have got to be the two most tantalizing words in the English language. Once I launch into a book, I can’t wait to get there. Writing connecting scenes, back story that flushes out character, or more or less anything that happens in the middle of a book flat out bores me. It just does. Far more fun to simply spring forward, leapfrog over the ubiquitous Dark Night of the Soul AKA Black Moment, and have my hero/heroine rush in… and be transformed!
But like Real Life, good fiction rarely if ever works that way. Typing “The End” is easy. Doing so and feeling good about it is work. It has to be earned. That’s where Blake’s Beat Sheet comes in. Whether you’re writing a screenplay or another form of fiction, those 15 beats form a quintessential template for pacing your story. Rushing through or skipping any one step may save you some time in the short run—but in the long run it will cost you your story.
So by all means, let us save the cat. And once we have kitty back in arms, let us move forward with unfolding our story, step-by-step, beat-by-beat. That’s our job as writers, as entertainers, and as creators. In the interim…
Prepare to hurry up—and wait. I have a feeling it’s going to be a while.
Master Cat! José Silerio discusses the 15th beat in the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet — Final Image — in this video from the Save the Cat! one-day event in Los Angeles this past January.
Master Cat! José Silerio discusses the first beat in the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet — Opening Image — in this video from the Save the Cat! one-day event in Los Angeles this past January.
Last week’s blog from screenwriter/director Gaz Alazraki generated a lot of interest in hearing more about the process of creating a box office record-setting feature film, especially one that so consciously employed STC! principles. Master Cat! Tom Reed sat down with Gaz to examine his methodology. We hope you find the depth and insight of his answers as inspiring as we did.
TR: Congratulations on the amazing success of Nosotros Los Nobles. And thanks for agreeing to do this. So let’s get started. At what point in the process of creating this project did you first employ STC! teachings? Was it at the premise level? That is, were you thinking of Blake when you first came up with the idea? Or was it at the stage where you were defining the genre/s? Or was it when you started beating out the story?
GA: This was my eighth script. I kept aiming for less ambitious stories as I threw away script after script. No matter how much simpler I tried to write, and how many screenwriting books I read, I kept getting lost….Keep in mind that I even attended McKee’s seminar three times. I paid Linda Seger for an analysis of a script… and yet after 10 years of trying to write one good script, I kept failing.
I showed an old Mexican movie to a Warner Bros exec, saying that it could be a great remake. He offered to pay for the rights and my salary as a screenwriter (he knew me from film festivals where he had seen my short films screened). It was The Great Madcap by Luis Buñuel. So I figured “Perfect! The movie is already made….The first half doesn’t work, so I have to restructure it in order to rearrange the premise, and we should be shooting by the end of the year. This time, structure should not be a problem.”
I finished the first draft in three months. All the partners loved it. The WB exec approved it… just asked me to tweak a few details, but we should be getting the money in no time! So I went to prepare for a casting strategy with Judith Weston in LA. She read the script and asked me “Have you thought about hiring professional screenwriters?”
I was devastated. I went back to the bookstore and decided to buy more books. I bought Save the Cat! and Your Screenplay Sucks. And as I was flying back to Mexico, I read on Your Screenplay Sucks that they compared Save the Cat! on par with McKee… so I opened STC… and couldn’t put it down! Everything I could never decipher about structure was neatly drawn out in those 15 beats… the logline structure… the genre… the 40 scenes….I had finally found the handbook for creating a Hollywood movie in Spanish!
Now… I had to put it all in practice…
TR: I know exactly what you mean. There’s a lot of great insight out there regarding how to write a screenplay — McKee, Truby, Seger, Vogler, Hauge, et al — much of it saying the same thing in different terms, different languages. Did Blake’s language resonate with you more clearly than the others? Any parts in particular, or just the whole package?
GA: The difference between Blake and all other gurus is that Blake outlines a PROCESS, and he then backs it up with explanations and examples.
The 15 beats were the first thing that broke down a Berlin Wall in my mind. I was able to learn screenwriting by re-viewing all my favorite films, with a display counter running.
I mourned all the years spent on trying to decipher structure–when someone had it down so simply–and kept watching in awe, the simplicity with which the 15 beats landed on every spot.
I later began to spot the beats without even having a counter running. And THEN I began to notice a correlation between movies that executed the 15 beats properly and their Tomatometer ratings and Box Office. The formulaic ones had bad ratings, but a decent Box Office. And the ones that built true emotion on an original premise and solid 15 beats, kept doing well on ratings and many on Box Office AND Ratings.
Then my brother and I began texting each other with quizzes on the genre of our favorite films… which is the 2nd MOST important breakthrough I had with Save the Cat!:
Blake’s study on Genre originated from Literary Genres–which later on manifested themselves on film–(while Voytilla and Vogler did the same study on genre films–based on the Blockbuster breakdown of genre–which only confused me more than ever). So as we began to hone our eye for the 15 beats and the Genre breakdown, my understanding of film kept growing and evolving.
TR: Your process is remarkably conscious and thorough. I think that level of thoroughness–and immersion–is essential in finally understanding the power of these tools. At what time in the process of writing the screenplay did you identify the genre for yourself (in STC! terms) and did your script become a conscious genre hybrid? In my own study of films using STC! methods I’ve found that most films have a primary and secondary genre, and sometimes trace elements of a third (or even a fourth). But it’s one thing to identify these elements after-the-fact, and quite another to make these conscious decisions and/or discoveries up front. How was if for you on this project?
GA: My first guess was that I was making a Fool Out of Water film, but I was struggling with hitting all the conventions that Blake outlined for the genre. It was only until my 16th out of 18 drafts that I realized that I was missing the genre for the B Story, which was the Right of Passage the family had to overcome. It was the death of the mother, who had the father stuck in time (Stasis=Death).
But even during the shooting phase, this wasn’t all too clear. Even now, I wouldn’t dare to pin down the genres on concrete. I always tried to use “The Melody” of the genre more than the “Rules” of the genre, because I wanted to stay more true to the characters than the convention of the genre, and I was afraid of losing freshness by sticking religiously to the rules… which led me to have 30 minutes of extra footage that never made it to the screen (the consequence of lacking rigour in the script phase).
TR: I think that’s an excellent example of having a plan but staying flexible, especially when it comes to keeping characterization organic and true. But now that the film is done would you say it’s a Fool Triumphant/Rite of Passage (Death Passage) hybrid, or something else?
GA: Yes. I would say it’s a hybrid of a Fool Triumphant/Rite of Passage….But I would love to see what people find in the Chat Forum, where they guess the genre… I’m thinking there might be more to analyze–but I never did. I wanted to get out of my head and into the story.
TR: There’s always more to analyze so I hope it gets a lot of attention along those lines. But you provide the perfect segue–”into the story.” Did you outline the script according to the 15 beats? Did you keep going back to the 15 beats as you refined the script? Did you go deeper into any particular beat than you thought you would have at the outset? Was there any one part of the BS2 that was especially illuminating to you while you found your way through the story?
GA: Yes!!! Oh god, yes!!! When I discovered the 15 beats I was like “Finally! So easy!”… I dived into them! But then I began to struggle and then I got confused about the story. And then I wrote myself into an ending that made no sense….And Warner Bros wasn’t happy…
So I began beating out my cousins (It Happened One Night, Coming to America, Trading Places, Overboard, The Royal Tenenbaums, Swept Away ), and began to understand the nuances and different spins that other writers had on the same beats….And I began to understand the variety of meanings behind Bad Guys Closing In… and the Mythical Midpoint….And yet, I was never sure how to structure all of this, cause even though the story was about a Wealthy Father who stages the bankruptcy of his company in order to teach his lazy children how to work, the father didn’t do anything during the 2nd act! He had no true action. He only fixed up the house, facing no real enemy! So… maybe I should structure the beats around the daughter, who has the love triangle? Or should I change the logline, because it isn’t about a wealthy father and his lazy children, since his enemy is the lazy son-in-law-to-be, who wants to blackmail him in exchange of his daughter’s hand and inheritance?….But that’s NOT the Fun n Games!!!! And the B Story is supposed to come in during minute 30, but the “Object of Affection” doesn’t show up until minute 43!!! So Who the hell is my B Story????
So I kept experimenting with the Logline, guessing which character was B Story, A Story, ’cause there were all these characters in the movie….So I never knew if I was right or not, but I came to the following conclusion:
A Story: The Wealthy Father has to stop his spoiled daughter from marrying a lazy gigoló. (The Love Triangle fits in this story.) B Story: The Wealthy Father has to teach his spoiled children a lesson.
I decided to split the children into A Story and B Story… so that way, it made sense when Break into 2 happened, and when the B Story began, and when they met during the Midpoint and the All Is Lost scene, and the Break into 3. It took me 15 drafts to get this right! And yet… I still wasn’t sure what or when was my Debate, or why the All Is Lost happened on page 85 instead of 75… but it worked on Overboard… so I stuck with that structure.
HOWEVER… I botched it with the scenes… Blake wanted around 40. I had 52. Every character needed their arc, their weight in the story… One father, 3 children, one business partner, one gigoló… There was no way to cut them down!…
Until I hit the editing room and lived through the horror of how long and slow the movie felt!!! 135 minutes!!! With trimmed scenes!!!
It was only then and there that I dared to cut out all the scenes that I didn’t want to take out in the script, and only then and there that I finished understanding why the beats were set in those minutes….And only then and there, where the theme stated landed on minute 6 instead of page 12. It was only then and there that the movie came together. It was ALSO then and there that I understood the gravity of the lack of discipline in the script. I wasted 6 days of shooting that never made it to the screen… 6 days that would have made my shoot a much easier shoot, if I would’ve spread out the scenes that I actually needed on the days I had money for shooting. And in the end, on the screen I had 43 scenes…
TR: Gaz, this is an inspired answer, and I know it’s going to be incredibly instructive to anyone who reads the blog. It’s a testament to the quality and reliability of the system, even though everyone has to wrestle their way through the particulars of every story, as you clearly did. Now that the film is done, are you happy with the result? And is there anything you’ll do differently on your next project that has a bearing on STC?
GA: Well… the movie is being hailed as the reconciliation of Mexican Cinema with the Mexican Audience. We are breaking every record ever set by every Mexican filmmaker I ever admired. Kids are dressing up like my characters for costume parties… T-Shirts with catch-phrases from the movie are beginning to emerge on the twittersphere. Everyone thanks us for finally making a movie that portrays Mexico in a positive light. That’s all you see on #NosotrosLosNobles… people claiming to love the movie. A huge interaction with our Facebook site, from all our fans….Not bad for my first movie.
However, I feel like I never figured out the story arc for the younger brother. I feel like I sped through the ending. I would’ve liked to take out the scenes that didn’t make it to the final cut, in a previous draft, and maybe just take two more pokes at a couple of rewrites to polish these things about the younger brother and a sharper ending. I mean, the ending is basically a videoclip with voice over. It was always written that way. But… you know… you’re always finding things…
TR: Gaz, I think that’s a perfect note to end on. You have my deepest congratulations. And thank you for participating in this interview. You’ve made the STC! method feel immediate, relatable, and profoundly relevant–like any of us can do it if we just keep at it. I hope many more of us join your club of success. And may your film continue to break records. Go Team STC!
Great news from writer/director Gaz Alazraki in this email from late March:
After 8 yrs of trying to write a decent script (and 8 different scripts), I discovered STC! and it changed my life! Blake’s ideas helped me focus my idea and got the writing to a point where I was able to raise a lot of interest from Warner Bros. and Fox in Mexico City. I shot Nosotros Los Nobles and edited it sticking very closely to the STC! principles.
Warner Bros and Fox both bid on the film, which is a comedy about a wealthy father who after realizing how spoiled his children are, decides to stage the bankruptcy and seizure of their properties, tricks them into thinking they’re fugitives, hides them in a poor house and makes them do something none of them had ever done before… Work!
Warner Bros was the winning bidder and began preparing the campaign in November 2012. Just as Sensei Blake wrote: “When the promise of the premise is clear, the Fun and Games will come through the campaign and sell the movie.”
We got great praise for a unique campaign, and out of 11 major critics in Mexico, we got 9 positive reviews, one mixed review, and one negative review—with praise like “The Return of The Comedy to Mexican Cinema,” “The Reconciliation between audiences and Mexican Cinema,” and ‘Finally, a movie that paints our society in a positive light.”
Here’s the tale of the numbers:
(Some context: we have a total of 5,000 screens in Mexico, and we are opening in the middle of Easter Break, which lasts for 2 weeks, fighting it out against Oz, Jack the Giant Killer, The Croods and G.I. Joe.)
The original release strategy was to do a limited release on March 22 (beginning of Easter Break) of 80 copies. We were to warm up the audience with some word of mouth, before our wide release of 320 copies on March 28… today (the day before Good Friday and Easter Week).
But the movie theaters asked us to bump up the number of copies for our pre-release from 80 to 150 copies. Our good scenario was to make $450,000 usd on the limited release weekend, but we made $1 million… the same amount Django made with 300 copies on opening weekend. A big amount of shows were sold out and many people weren’t able to see the film. We were #1 in our average per screen, more than doubling The Croods on its opening weekend.
So WB bumped up the number of copies to 450 screens (about the same amount that Jack Reacher had) for our Opening Weekend. But we made around another $200,000 usd on Monday, around another $200,000 usd on Tuesday, and by Wednesday the movie had made around a total of $1.6 million usd.
So WB decided to open with 650 copies. But with the interlock, we opened in 750 screens. That’s 90% of the country with at least 2 screens per cinema complex… on Easter Week.
Yesterday we opened to a Record Breaking $650,000 usd first day. It looks like by Monday we will be crowned 2nd place in the All-Time Live-Action Mexican Film openings.
And I will never get tired of saying that I owe all of this to….
… Save the Cat!
I even thank Blake Snyder on the credits…. ha!
So… Be proud of spreading the DaVinci Code of Screenwriting Wisdom, gentlemen.
Our friendly neighborhood STC! Forum co-moderator and guest blogger, Mike Rinaldi, recently wrote a feature for EchoLight Studios and director Mike Norris (Chuck Norris’ son). Between the feature films and web series he has in development, Mike also writes for PR and talent marketing company SDI Entertainment, representing clients from Marvel’s The Avengers.
I have a recurring dream that Kathleen Kennedy walks into the elevator car and pushes the P2 button. I have seven floors to make her like me so I ask her how much lens flare is too much in an Abrams-directed lightsaber duel. She gives me a stern look because lens flare is not a laughing matter and gets out two floors early. Apparently I too pushed a button. I wake up in a cold sweat, knowing I should have gone with the Wookie joke.
I lied. This isn’t a recurring dream, just an illustration. But in this fictional account you’ll notice between my lens flare question and Wookie joke, I did not entertain the third option: blurt out a logline for my whimsical, four quadrant, flying squirrel comedy.
It may seem an obvious choice to not spring an elevator pitch on an unsuspecting producer because self-control is the conventional wisdom. Rightly so. But when I meet up-and-coming writers and ask what their screenplay is about, I usually get long-winded rambles. Why is this happening? Because they’re not preparing elevator pitches due to a misunderstanding of Hollywood’s social protocol.
The myth is: Don’t have an elevator pitch. The rule is actually: Don’t instigate an elevator pitch.
When someone approaches us for our elevator pitch we better have one ready — hopefully more than one so we can confidently reply to the infamous, “What else have you got?”
The tables were turned on me several times this year when a producer or actor sprung on me, the unsuspecting screenwriter, an invitation to pitch them. It happens anywhere and everywhere from the ordering line at your favorite coffee shop to the pages of Linked In to pump #4 at the Chevron on Highland and Beverly. And it’s almost never a request to contact them at my leisure.
It’s usually a lunchtime email saying, “Mike, I got funding and distribution for a family comedy in suchandsuch budget. I need a screenplay. What have you got?” If you guessed flying squirrels defeating al-Qaeda are not in suchandsuch budget, you’d be correct. “What else have you got?” The flying squirrel who saved Hanukah was closer, still over budget. Meanwhile, I’m going over my brilliant scripts in various stages of near completion and trying to figure out how to expand the logline into a reasonable elevator pitch.
So here are a few takeaways from my recent experiences:
1. Always be prepared. Develop an elevator pitch for each of your scripts or screenplay ideas. The need for an elevator pitch arsenal is the new normal. Producers spring out like ninjas.
2. Develop your brand. Know yourself as a writer, but diversify your story ideas within a consistent brand. Not everyone wants flying squirrels. It turns out Disney prefers flying monkeys.
3. Write screenplays in varied budget ranges. This is a tip Blake shared with me and with technological innovation, it’s even more true today. At all times you want to pull from your quiver a big budget pitch, a mid-budget, a low budget, and especially a micro-budget screenplay. Micro-budgets don’t pay well but there is constant demand for these.
If you find it a challenge to construct a tight, compelling elevator pitch, reread Save the Cat! and revisit your logline and beat sheet. Get to know your story and theme, remind yourself why you love your characters, and identify the the plot points that pack the most irony. For additional assistance, I recommend Stephanie Palmer and Michael Hauge. Stephanie, who has guest blogged for us before, authored Good in a Room, the standard authority for pitch meetings. Michael Hauge’s book, Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds, helps you figure out which elements of your story do and don’t belong in your pitch. Both books are very Cat!-compatible and in essence are more of what Blake taught us.
And don’t forget, you can always find assistance in our warm and collaborative Save the Cat! Forum from many writers like yourself who are eager to build one another up!
Our guest blogger, Cynthia Ellingsen, started her career as a screenwriter, working with screenwriting partner Natalie Compagno. The two penned Modern Love and Three Card Monte, both optioned by Identity Film. Cynthia went on to write contemporary fiction for Penguin-Berkley. Her novels, Marriage Matters and The Whole Package, are represented for book-to-film by Jon Cassir at CAA.
As a contemporary fiction writer for Penguin-Berkley, I have two novels on the shelf. Marriage Matters, my latest, is the story of a mother, daughter, and grandmother who all get engaged at the same time and decide to share a wedding. CAA is currently shopping the film rights. The Whole Package, the story of three best friends who essentially open a male version of the restaurant Hooters, was released in 2011.
One thing I consistently hear from readers is: “When I read your books, I feel like I’m watching a movie. Do you imagine the movie when you write?”
The answer is a resounding yes, primarily because I plot out the rough draft of my novels using the assistance of Save the Cat!
Save the Cat! is the best title, isn’t it? It conjures up a bright red fire truck screaming towards an emergency and a rugged fireman – perhaps one that forgot to shave– leaping out of the truck and racing towards the scene.
But this scruffy superman is not carrying a ladder to help some kitten trapped in a tree. No, no. He’s waving the Blake Snyder beat sheet at some poor writer completely at odds with story structure.
Story structure is one of the most critical components in writing. When you have a strong story structure, your readers are more likely to trust in the story you’re going to tell. Why? Because story structure, especially of the Hollywood variety, is universally recognizable.
Don’t believe me? Well, I bet you’d recognize this:
A hero who desperately needs a change experiences a catalyst to make this change, but still debates the need to follow through. Eventually, the hero commits to making said change. Cue celebration with a B-story and rollicking fun and games section. At least, until the bad guys close in. Then, the hero loses everything and is forced to face down the dark night of the soul. The hero rises from the ashes, triumphant.
Isn’t that a great story?!
When you work with a set story structure, it’s so much easier to stay on track and figure out what, exactly, to write. Save the Cat! has helped me to revisit the power of story structure again and again. Whenever someone tells me they want to write a book or a screenplay but don’t know how, this is the first book I recommend.
Even though it doesn’t really come with a scruffy fireman.
José Silerio served as Blake Snyder’s Development Director. He has been integral to the success of Blake’s workshops and classes as he worked alongside Blake schooling writers in the Cat! method. As a teacher and consultant, José continues to help numerous writers learn Blake’s paradigm and apply it to their projects. You can see José as he leads one of the “Power Half Hours” at the Your Career in a Day event in Burbank on June 1. In today’s blog, José offers some guidance in an often challenging section of your script:
“Why is the Bad Guys Close In beat soooo hard?”
Ever felt that way? I hear it every time in workshops. Blake even says it in the book. The BGCI is the toughest part of the screenplay. It’s the part of the script he always had trouble with.
Remember, the BGCI beat does not only refer to the external forces that are hunting your hero down. This isn’t just the villains tightening their grip. The BGCI also refers to the internal forces that are making your hero’s journey much harder.
This is the section wherein internal dissent takes place. This is where your hero’s resolve in obtaining his goal is truly tested. It doesn’t just get harder because your hero’s enemies have found a way to regroup (if you gave your hero a false victory at Midpoint… but let’s save that for another blog) and are back on the chase. It gets harder because your hero doubts himself and whether the goal he’s been chasing all these 55 or so pages is really the right goal after all.
In Silver Linings Playbook, Pat (Bradley Cooper) was very clear with his goal from the get-go: win Nikki (his ex) back. He has a great false victory at Midpoint when Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) agrees to give Nikki his letter that will win her back – but only if he dances with Tiffany. Now that the external stakes are raised — learning to dance and all the pressures that go with it (especially if you’re bipolar) — Pat discovers something else. His life is actually going ok. Not only is he happy (a call back to the theme stated; check out the previously posted beat sheet of SLP), but he’s actually happy with Tiffany – not Nikki. Now the internal stakes are being raised.
This is where I like to say: The BGCI is where the hero learns the problem was never them. The problem was me. And once that grain of doubt gets planted in your hero, the internal BGCI happens. Now your story is raised to another level. Now your BGCI doesn’t merely repeat your Fun & Game moments. Now your BGCI beat becomes stronger.
What will your hero do to resist change? What will your hero do to fight the biggest battle he must overcome – himself?
Isn’t it always hardest to admit when we’re wrong (especially when arguing with your spouse or – heaven forbid – your mother-in-law!)? Well, it’s the same for your hero. He now knows he must change. He was wrong. “His way or the highway” doesn’t work anymore. He can no longer get away with the lie he’s been telling, or passing the blame all the time, or running away from his biggest fear (whatever that may be in your story).
The external BGCI forces your hero to face his internal BGCI. It’s a one-two punch. And that’s how your hero goes down for the count in the All Is Lost (… or so we think – but that’s another discussion for yet another day).
And that’s why BGCI is soooo hard … for our hero and us, the writer. Not to get all Dr. Phil here, but we have to tap into our emotions, our fears, our pains as writers and put it in paper through our heroes. It’s easy to add plot (just drop an anvil, kitchen sink, or piano at your hero), but it’s a heck of a challenge to build character.
And that’s what we, as writers, have to do. If you’re unsure how to push your story forward past Midpoint and struggling through your BGCI, maybe you need to jiggle your structure a bit. Do you have the right goal for your hero? Did you set up enough character flaws in the 1st Act? Do you have the right theme (I know, I shouldn’t have gone there – and, yes, that is a discussion for yet another day)?
Hey, nobody said it would be easy – but doesn’t everyone also say don’t quit just because it gets hard?
It may be tough writing the BGCI, but the harder we make it for our hero, the greater the reward will be for our hero and our audience. And that’s the only goal that truly matters in the end.