Trough of Hell: How to Wrap Up the Middle of Your Story with Maximum Impact
If you’re like me, you begin writing your screenplay or novel* with lots of enthusiasm…until you reach the middle, aka Act Two. That’s where you get stuck. Suddenly, all of your enthusiasm evaporates.
Blank pages are scary in general. Blank pages from Act Two, those are downright terrifying.
But if you figure out which events end Act Two—often referred to as the “all is lost” moment—everything else will fall into place.
If you do that, you’ll be writing screenplay or novel pages quickly. They’ll be good pages too. Pages which engage, excite, and enthrall.
So, What’s the Key to Plotting the Perfect “All Is Lost” Moment?
It’s simple: craft a sequence which is filled with pain, emotion, and paradox…what I like to call the hero’s “trough of hell.” Combined, these three elements re-engage audiences, right when their interest is about to flag.
That’s why it’s so important to get this plot point right. My comprehensive writing guide, Trough of Hell: How to Wrap Up the Middle of Your Story with Maximum Impact, will show you exactly what to do.
What You’ll Learn in This Writing Guide
Once you know how to craft a gripping trough of hell, completing the middle of your story will become far less terrifying. You’ll be approaching your keyboard (or pad of paper) with anticipation instead of dread. Sounds good, right?
Specifically, you’ll learn:
- how to use 4 different pain types to inflict maximum damage to your hero (and why you should)
- 3 methods to make the trough of hell more emotionally intense—without altering a single beat of the “all is lost” moment
- how a hero seems to be the furthest away from his goal, when you and I both know he’s about to accomplish it in 15 pages (give or take)
- 7 common ways to end Act Two and how to overcome the unique challenges each presents
- how to enchant audiences by combining multiple trough types
- the trick Peter Jackson used to increase the emotional weight of THE TWO TOWERS
- why the most effective way to hurt your hero—even in an action movie—doesn’t involve blood, burns, or bruises
- 5 different forms of betrayal you can use to split your heroes apart
- how to use setups and payoffs to extricate your hero from dicey situations (like capture and death)
- the secret sauce to turning allies into foes (think Dr Nichols in THE FUGITIVE)
- what stuck out the most to Johnny Depp when filming THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL…and why it matters to you, as a screenwriter
- the STAR WARS secret which will help you achieve galactic screenwriting dominion
- 5 cliché-free ways to show your hero’s post-trough distress
- how to pace your story with panache
- how to handle problems specific to thrillers, action movies, comedies, and romantic comedies
Like Examples? Me Too!
I’m a big fan of learning by example. So I use plenty of them to illustrate my points. But sometimes examples just aren’t enough. That’s why I’ve also included 8 detailed case studies which should help you put together all the writing secrets you’ll learn from this book.
All blockbuster films, the case studies include:
- SHERLOCK HOLMES 2: GAME OF SHADOWS
- ABOUT A BOY
- MONSTERS, INC.
- OCEAN’S 11 (2001)
- A FEW GOOD MEN
- LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
Never Get Stuck in the Middle of Your Story Ever Again
Conquer Act Two…for good. Write your screenplay with more ease, more speed, and more confidence. Download Trough of Hell today!
* While all the examples come from movies, this writing guide can help authors who are struggling with the middle section of their novels.
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