Beginner’s Guide to Screenplay Story Structure

close up view of a script
Photo by cottonbro on

For a novice to the world of the screenplay, the value of a definite story structure can never be exaggerated. Doing the script the proper way will guarantee its success, garner audience approval and give you much pleasure. 

An individual attempt at it is by no means an effortless task. A simple love for writing is not enough. A whole lot more is required. Since a script for the stage or movie deals with striking visual effects, it has to be treated separately from writing a novel. Movie making is a collaborative process that necessitates a script as its cornerstone and that too in a specific format, notation, and length.

To make the story structure a proper commodity, screenplay writing must include the following at its all-inclusive guidelines:

  1. A hero who is driven towards achieving a particular goal.
  2. An antihero/villain who comes in the way of the central character or the hero.
  3. A fight (metamorphic or literal) between the two.
  4. An end that offers answers to the query of whether the hero will emerge as the winner and achieve his goal.

If the public can relate to the central character somehow, your screenplay writing is likely to have greater chances of success. Once sold, it is primarily the actors and the director who can make or mar your script. If your story structure has a firm foundation, nothing can go wrong, and you can be sure to go places! Irrespective of how good the story is, the architecture will collapse if it has a vulnerable structure.

Here is how you can go about structuring your story for the screenplay.

  1. The start of your first act carries the opening image of your movie, an introduction to the central characters, the theme of the film, and the overall point of the tale.
  2. Next, after introducing your characters, you should work on developing the circumstance that thrusts your protagonist into the story. 
  3. In the screenplay, the top of act one is where the protagonist reaches their first significant turning point, leading viewers into the second act.
  4. The heart of your screenplay is where the stakes are raised, and the viewers find out the true capability of the personas and the possible drama that awaits. 
  5. By the third act, the characters think of a winning plan, or at the very least, the hero is reinvigorated enough to try to solve the story‚Äôs battle once and for all. 
  6. The story winds up by the end of the third act. While your account should have resolved, it does not inevitably mean your screenplay has to have a button-ending, neat, or happy resolution. 

Now You Know

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