Thursday, July 28, 2011

Feed-the-Writer's-Soul Friday- Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure-Part 1

   Hi everyone! I am posting this Feed-the-Writer's-Soul Friday Blog one day early because we are leaving to New Orleans tomorrow. My son made it into the Junior Olympics for Taekwondo...and I am nervous as heck!!! So, if you think about it, please send up a quick prayer for safety for my son. Full head kicks are completely legal-even KO's. (Urgh! I don't think I can watch...)

Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure-Part 1
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Michael Hauge is a very engaging speaker. He has worked with many writers and filmmakers as a script consultant. This was a 2 hour lecture on Plot Structure given by Mr. Hauge at RWA Nationals. Please keep in mind that these are just MY notes. And my notes ended up being pretty long (and a bit cryptic-sorry), so I've decided to do this in two parts. I believe this lecture was recorded, so those of you who bought them can use this as a rough outline. If it wasn't recorded...sorry about that. Anyway, I hope that you find this somewhat helpful. He had a great handout that explained this better in diagram than I can do with the written word, but I tried. :)

***The GOAL of a writer must be to elicit EMOTION.***

All stories are based on 3 basic elements-
1) Character
2) Desire
3) Conflict

In Hollywood calls them:
1) Hero-protagonist
2)Outer motivation
3)Outer conflict

Outer motivation—is the desire for something that’s visible, can immediately picture what it looks like ie: win love of another character, stop something, escape something, retrieve something.

Outer conflict— is what’s visible that’s getting in the way-whatever the H/H are pursuing that creates VISIBLE obstacles in order to over come them.

Often the inner journey is heavier than the outer journey. The story is stronger if there are obstacles in place that the audience/readers can see.

In the outer journey the H/H can pursue 2 different goals ie: break up a wedding and win love.

The inner journey creates the outer journey because it leads the characters actions-that are outwardly visible.

H/H outer journey defines the plot. The plot is the sequence of events that cause the maximum emotional element.

H/H inner journey is not visible, it’s their individual goal. It’s the inner journey that causes the TRANSFORMATION=the change on the inside. The H/H becomes different person from the beginning of the story to the end. For example, living in fear to living courageously.

For readers to understand the inner journey they must understand the outer journey --because the inner journey comes from the outer journey. SO-a stronger outer journey leads to a stronger inner journey. Basically, a character's outer journey is the visible choices a character makes to satisfy or obtain their inner desire.

There are 6 Basic Stages of a story-that are defined by 5 key turning points. These steps are always the same and occur in the same sequence. They occur at exactly the same place in the story and in every story.

Stage 1-SETUP-takes about 0%-10% of the movie/book. This section is all about setting the stage and giving the readers/viewers a connection with the story’s character’s full identity.

1) It introduces the H/H separately. 
2)It creates empathy with character so the audience connects. You do this by
      a) creating sympathy-feel sorry for them if you make them a victim.
      b) Put the character in jeopardy or danger. It can be physical jeopardy or danger that      person will lose something-job, competition, anything.
      c) Make the character likable-generous. Or show as well liked by other people.
3) Shows characters living their every day life before the journey begins because a story is before and after the journey. We must see how start out to see how it finishes. The over all change.
It ends with Turning Point=OPPORTUNITY at about 10% of the movie/story. This is where something happens to H/H that has never happened before. Something will create a desire (goal) but is not the story goal. It’s the goal to move to stage 2 and a new situation. The character is either forced to move-often times to a new location at OPPORTUNITY but not always.

Stage 2-NEW SITUATION-takes about 10%-25% of movie/book. This is the stage when character finds out what’s going on and finds out the rules. Something new occurs that has never happened before. The H/H now has a NEW DESIRE-New outer motivation. Whatever route the H/H do take-they do not pursue to fill. Pursue the VISIBLE GOAL. **Build up to pursuit. Circumstance brings things together.
This ends with Turning Point #2 CHANGE OF PLANS @ 25% of the move/story.

Tune in next week for Part 2...
Until next time,

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