Where Are You Going With Your Plot?

1As Steve Martin said to John Candy in Planes, Trains, & Automobiles, “When you’re telling these little stories?  Here’s a good idea – have a point.  It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!”

Every scene in your screenplay must be doing one or more of three things:  revealing character, advancing the plot, or expanding the theme. All three together give direction to your story.

The plot is a function of your central dramatic question:  What is the single goal of your main character?  The answer to that question will be determined by what obstacles he or she must overcome and how they need to transform to achieve their goal.

As a result, the plot can be seen as a series of ever-escalating obstacles that your main character must face.

To drive the plot constantly forward, there must be a “cause and effect” relationship from one scene to the next.  So because A happens, that causes your character to do B.  And because B happens, that causes C . . . and so on.

Look at each scene in your script and ask yourself: Is this scene essential to my plot?  Could I remove it and have the story still make sense? Does this scene build from the previous one to the next? Does it leave a door open to pull the reader along?

Once you have tightened your story, it is important to get feedback and see if your story comes across to someone else like you want it to. Smart Girls can help you with that through the script critiques we offer.  Or of course you can go to other top script analysts such as Linda Seger or John Truby, both of whom Melody also learned from.

Dr. Melody Jackson has been rated a “Cream of the Crop” / Top 3% Script Consultant by Creative Screenwriting for the third time ouf of 3. Her Ph.D. in Mythological Studies also informs her perspective when she critiques your script.

Or if you feel you are at a pretty early stage, you can get basic coverage by one of our staff readers at a rate that is lower than the script analysis. You can see the whole range of script reviews we offer on our website at script critiques. And if you have questions about any of them, just give us a call at 818/907-6511.

Happy writing!