Published: August 26th, 2011
In Part I we looked at “big picture” plot elements using screenwriting techniques from Syd Field’s The Screenwriter’s Workbook. Once you are confident that these elements are sound, its time to look at Sam Smiley’s list for the small picture plot issues from his book, Playwriting: The Structure of Action: balance, disturbance, plan, obstacles, complications, sub-stories, crisis, climax and resolution.
Balance is just a different way of referring to the set up. It’s a state of being for your characters—in balance—before the disturbance occurs which upsets that balance. This can also be the inciting incident, but it isn’t always. Remember that the inciting incident “hooks the action in a new direction.” The disturbance might just be the first salvo for your character.