Stuck in the Middle - Midpoints
I've often found the Midpoint of a story difficult to find and difficult to write.
It's one of the big three pillars in story structure, and it's the
The Midpoint doesn't have the “dragged into a new world” of Plot Point One, or the “All is Lost” tragedy of Plot Point Two. It's a more understated change of direction.
And it's the part that is often done wrong or not done at all, and causes stories to run out of steam, as a writer or a reader.
Strong Midpoints serve several functions and have several hallmarks:
- Raising the Stakes
- Changing the direction of the story/altering the Protagonist's goal
- The plot crosses paths with the theme
- A “false victory” or “false defeat”
- A more “public” moment for the Protagonist. Often a kiss or a party happens! Or a kiss at a party!
- Protagonist is completely committed to their new direction
The “plot crossing with the theme” connects to the kiss that often comes at the midpoint in stories. Old school screenwriters apparently used the phrase “sex at sixty”, meaning page 60, the midpoint of a feature length film.
Of course, the midpoint doesn't have to fall at exactly the middle of the page count or running time…Vince Giligan of Breaking Bad fame seems to write his first halves a lot longer, taking his time with setups and accelerating towards the end.
A montage often shows up here, like the training montage in Rocky or the “relationship montage” in many romantic comedies.
Whaddaya say? Are midpoints hard to identify? Do you think they're important to identify? Have you ever read a midpoint you noticed and liked, or written one you're particularly happy with?
Happy Thursday…hey, we made it past the midpoint of the week!
Banes at 4:43AM, March 21, 2019
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