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The Transformation Machine

By on August 2, 2007 in About the Beats, Today's Blog

All stories are about transformation.

And seeing this as a good thing is the starting point of writing a successful story of any kind.

Something has to happen, change has got to occur. That’s why the opening image (the snapshot of the world BEFORE) of a movie script has to be the opposite of the final image (the snapshot of the world AFTER.)

When breaking a story that’s always where I start — and what most listeners I am pitching to want to know: What HAPPENS?

Well, the way to chart that is to ask who your hero is at the start and who he is by the end.

And that’s what makes Act Two what I like to call The Transformation Machine.

Heroes go into Act Two — but they don’t come out. And as storytellers, our job is to take our audience by the hand and explain that process. You the audience and I the writer, I like to say, are standing on a train platform, we’re getting on the train… and we’re not coming back.

The best part of the BS2, the structure strategy for breaking down these story points, is the Transformation Machine of Act Two. By charting “Fun and Games,” “Midpoint,” “Bad Guys Close In”, “All is Lost,” and “Dark Night of the Soul,” we have a map to show how that transformation occurs in our hero.

And when you add in the vital “B Story” hinge points at page 30 (when the “helper story” is introduced) to the “Midpoint” and “Break into Three” where A and B stories cross, the meaning of this transformation is discussed as well.

All stories are the caterpillar turning into a butterfly in some sense. All stories require a death and rebirth to make that painful and glorious process happen.

And it occurs in movies… and in life.

We transform every day, re-awaken to new concepts about the world around us, overcome conflict, and triumph over death… only to start again each morning.

It’s why stories that follow this pattern resonate. Because each day is a transformation machine, and so are our lives.

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About the Author

About the Author: Read about Blake here. .

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  1. Sarah Beach says:

    Dang it! I come to catch up on your posts, and you’ve posted something that inspires another tweak in a developing story idea! (If you remember my “Baked Alaska” idea at all! 😉 )

    And it’s an idea that is down the list of “things to work on”! Bah!

    If only this day-job thing didn’t interfere with my writing so much.

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