LESSON 7

The Beginning & The End

You have several story ideas!

Which has the best potential for becoming a feature-length screenplay?

Which would you enjoy writing the most?

Assess an idea by developing five components of classic story structure. Put as much distance as you can between each.

Transport the reader and audience beyond their expectations. They should not be able to accurately predict what happens.

The first two elements are the beginning and the end. You already have notes on these from the exercises in Lesson 4.

The beginning is the lead character’s typical day. It introduces them and establishes the story world.

The end is what comes after the story’s climax, as the protagonist settles into a new kind of day. He or she has changed in some way, their circumstances have shifted, and the story world may have changed. Yet, with all this transformation, there are similarities with the beginning.

Even if you decide later to exclude or abridge the beginning and the end, as we’ve defined them here, you’ll benefit from having developed them.

Study films you admire to compare how they begin and end. Do any come full circle?

For this lesson’s exercise:

Select an idea.

Describe the protagonist’s usual problems at the beginning and how these compare to those at the end.

Ensure these problems and challenges capture interest and reveal character.

Think of ways to show how the protagonist has changed at the end.

Consider the conventions of your chosen genre and set the tone early to meet expectations.

Like everything else, you can later revise these elements as you gain insight into how to improve your screenplay.

This YouTube playlist might be helpful.

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EXERCISE 7
The Beginning & The End

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