Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Act One - Sequence One

Act One is the set up of your story. You will reveal the major players, themes, locations, conflicts, and the main conflict. You will show the inner and outer need of your protagonist. There will be setups and payoffs, rising stakes, and a possible time clock set into motion.

Act One- Sequence One- In a movie, this will normally take up the first fifteen minutes. In a novel, of four hundred words, you will find it in the first fifty pages. The page counts will vary per novel.

In sequence one, you will answer the questions who, what, where, when, and why: Characters, goals, setting, time, and motivation. This sequence will end with the inciting incident.

I'm going to use Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone as an example. I hope everyone has seen the movie. If not, watch it before moving forward. It's a very good movie.

Sequence One begins with the prologue, where we are introduced to the setting of magical world meets human, or muggle, world. We met the main character, Harry, as a baby and are introduced to his mentors.

The movie then flashes forward to present time. We are introduced to the main character's normal world and his conflicting family.

The zoo scene introduces a foreshadowing, those who have seen the series will know what I'm referring to, and the main character's desire to have a real family.

The invitations are the main character's call to adventure, or inciting incident. His uncle steps in as the Refusal of the call. But, the call cannot be refused when Hagrid arrives to escort the boy to the Hogwart's School.

As the main character follows Hagrid out the door to begin his adventure, we arrive at the end of Sequence One.

I'll end there for today. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow as we walk into Sequence two of Act One. Feel free to share examples of your own.


Terry W. Ervin II said...

Movies are not always the best conversion to novels. IN genreal, a novella-length work is what fits for a 90 minute or so movie.

Something like the movie Holes and the book Holes were pretty close.

But both movie and novel equals telling a story, so examining the structure, the elements used to create each or both has merit.

Will continue to follow and see what you uncover.

Anonymous said...

Terry, I agree there is a difference between a movie and a novel. While easily seen in a movie, a sequence seems harder to break down in a novel. Of course, there is a possibility that Dean Koontz follows and entirely different structure in his writing.

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