Category Archives: Formula Plot Templates

Resources For Writers Obsessed With Plot Structure

I haven’t been posting much lately because I’ve been working relentlessly on creating the ultimate story plot structure outline tool. In the process, I’ve looked at almost every article, video, and image related to plot structure on the internet. It has been a slow, painful process slogging through the slush pile of advice out there. So, to save other aspiring plotters time researching, I’ve compiled all the most useful content I’ve found into the list below.

46+ Popular Story Structure Graphs In 3 jpgs:

Videos Of The Hero’s Journey and Dan Harmon’s Adaptation:

Videos On Hollywood-Style Plot Structures:

Scene Structure:

Film Courage Interviews:

Kurt Vonnegut’s Formulas:

Character Development Arcs:

Writing 101: Four W’s For Character Development

How The Antagonist Affects Character Arc

The 3 Types of Character Arc – Change, Growth, And Fall

The Eggshell Hero – How To Build A Story Upon A Dramatic Character Arc

How To Write Character Arcs

Plotting And Structure:

The Eight Sequences

Plot Your Novel In 7 Steps

How To Brainstorm Your Story Idea Into A Working Concept

The Yes-But Method of Deepening The Plot

Story Structure 101: Super Basic Shit

Story Structure: 10 Simple Keys to Effective Plot Structure

Story Structure With Michael Hague

7 Point Plot Structure Story Mapping Template

Plotting

Structuring And Outlining

How To Add Subplots To Your Story

Tighten Thy Subplots

Subplot Ideas: 5 Tips For Writing Better Subplots

Conflict:

Writing 101: Internal vs External Conflict

Writing 101: Conflict Lock

Conflict Basics

The Inner Struggle: Guides For Using Inner Conflict That Make Sense

Building Your Core: Internal And External Core Conflicts

Depicting Internal Conflicts

The Internal Conflict Formula That Generates Plot Points And Strengthens Them

Goals, Conflict, Tension, And Stakes

Lists For Brainstorming:

50 High Stake Plot Ideas!

TV Tropes

123 Ideas For Character Flaws

Top 100 Traits And Behaviors Of Personality-Disordered Individuals

Huge List Of Vices

Huge List Of Virtues

The Master List Of Virtues (pdf)

What Is The Classification Of Character Strengths And Virtues?

Wikipedia Articles You Should Read:

Goal

Motivation

Intention

Homo Economicus

Personality Types

Trait Theory

Software:

List of story writing software #1

List of story writing software #2

List of story writing software #3

Inklewriter (CYOA writing)

Quest (CYOA writing)

Twine (CYOA writing)

Ginko (Lists and notecard organization)

Mindmeister (Mind mapping)

The Plot.io (Storyboards)

Frameforge (Storyboards)

Boords (Storyboards)

Articles About Story Structure By The Wise Sloth:

Screenwriting For Movies:
Screenwriting For TV:
Short Stories:
Erotica:
Choose Your Own Adventure:
Movie Plot Break Downs:
TV Plot Break Downs:
Free Story Prompts:

Plot Break Down Of “Perry Mason: The Case Of The Sulky Girl”

A Wise Sloth fan E-mailed me recently and asked me to break down the plot of Perry Mason, Season 1-Episode 5, The Case of the Sulky Girl. So I did.

 

Erle Stanley Gardner's "The Case of the Sulky Girl: A Perry Mason Mystery"

 

Perry Mason” is a detective mystery/court drama book series written by Erle Stanley Gardner in the 1930’s-1940’s. In two decades, he wrote 82 books, which were so popular, they were adapted into a black and white television sitcom in the 1950s that lasted 271 episodes. He was able to write so quickly and eloquently by inventing and using handwritten plot wheels. You can find pictures pictures of his original handwritten wheels here. The words are hard to read, but you can find transcriptions here.

Gardner undoubtedly had more wheels and laddered-outlines, which you may be able to learn more about in the book, “Secrets of the World’s Best-Selling Writer: The Storytelling Techniques of Erle Stanley Gardner.” I haven’t read it. The reviews say it’s more biography than how-to, but it seems to be the only book that talks about Gardner’s writing method at all, and his life seems pretty interesting anyway.

You can write your own Perry Mason fan fiction by copying the contents of my spreadsheet into an Excel document and then using the “find and replace” function (Ctrl-F) to replace the variables. Once you’re familiar with how the pieces fit together, then you can move and change them to create more original stories. Over the next few months I’m going to break down a few more episodes and write an analysis that will help both of us understand Gardner’s formula better.

Click here to view the break down on Google Spreadsheets.

Click here to view a jpg image of the break down on Imgur.

Perry Mason: Season 1 Episode 5: The Case of the Sulky Girl
BEAT 1
Introduce CLIENT
Introduce VICTIM
Introduce conflicting goals between CLIENT and VICTIM
Setup to MASON taking CLIENT’S CASE
Introduce primary characters
Setup the murder
LOCATION INT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – STUDY
ACTION CLIENT tells VICTIM she wants to be treated like an adult.
REACTION VICTIM tells CLIENT to act like one.
OUTCOME CLIENT leaves angry.
 
BEAT 2

Introduce WITNESS #4 (MURDERER).

Introduce WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE).

Setup introducing WITNESS #1.

Setup the time and place of murder.

LOCATION INT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – FOYER
ACTION WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) arrives at VICTIM’S HOUSE to see VICTIM
REACTION WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) tells WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) that VICTIM is busy and to come back later, but WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) says he will be with WITNESS #1 until 10pm. WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) says to come back at 11pm.
OUTCOME WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) reluctantly agrees to return at 11pm and leaves.
 
BEAT 3

Introduce WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING).

State CLIENT’S goal and stakes.

LOCATION INT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – CLIENT’S ROOM
ACTION CLIENT tells WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) that she wants her money now, and she’ll get it now.
REACTION WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) advises CLIENT not to do anything, but CLIENT says she’s out of patience.
OUTCOME CLIENT is resolved to take action, and she leaves to go see Perry MASON.
 
BEAT 4

Introduce RED HERRING #2.

Show CLIENT enacting plan to accomplish goal.

(This is an unecessary beat and can be cut.)

LOCATION EXT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – FRONT YARD
ACTION CLIENT gets in her car and leaves in a hurry.
REACTION CLIENT almost runs over RANDOM GUY (RED HERRING), but he moves out of the way.
OUTCOME RANDOM GUY (RED HERRING) angrily watches CLIENT drive away.
 
BEAT 5

Introduce MASON.

State CASE GOAL #1.

MASON accepts the case.

Introduce MYSTERY #1

LOCATION INT. PERRY MASON’S OFFICE
ACTION CLIENT enter’s MASON’S office and tells him she wants him to represent her.
REACTION MASON asks CLIENT to state her goal. So she tells him that she wants him to break VICTIM’s control of her trust fund.
OUTCOME MASON agrees to take her case, and she leaves.
 
BEAT 6
MASON sends INVESTIGATOR to find CLUE #1 on CLIENT.
MASON follows clues to find more clues.
LOCATION INT. PERRY MASON’S OFFICE
ACTION MASON calls INVESTIGATOR and asks him to find information on CLIENT.
REACTION INVESTIGATOR says he’s busy, but MASON tells him to reprioritize CLIENT’s case.
OUTCOME INVESTIGATOR agrees to investigate CLIENT, and they hang up.
 
BEAT 7

Setup conflicting goals between WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) and VICTIM.

Show motive for WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) to kill VICTIM.

LOCATION INT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – STUDY
ACTION VICTIM tells WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) not to comfort and encourage CLIENT anymore.
REACTION WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) says she loves CLIENT, but VICTIM says if she continues to help CLIENT, he’ll fire her.
OUTCOME WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) sadly agrees not to help CLIENT and leaves.
 
BEAT 8
MASON recieves CLUE #1 on CLIENT from INVESTIGATOR
LOCATION INT. RESTAURANT
ACTION INVESTIGATOR tells MASON he found information on CLIENT.
REACTION INVESTIGATOR tells MASON that CLIENT ran away to Miami recently, where she fell in love with DEFENDANT (RED HERRING), who is a starving artist.
OUTCOME MASON thanks INVESTIGATOR and leaves to go see DEFENDANT (RED HERRING).
 
BEAT 9

MASON follows CLUE #1, which leads to a dead end.

MASON interviews DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) for a motive but finds no cause for suspicion.

LOCATION INT. DEFENDANT (RED HERRING)’S LOFT
ACTION MASON asks DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) to explain his relationship with CLIENT.
REACTION DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) deflects, but MASON deduces DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) and CLIENT are married and expecting a baby.
OUTCOME MASON is convinced DEFENDANT (RED HERRING)’s intentions are virtuous and leaves.
 
BEAT 10

MASON interviews VICTIM

State CLIENT and VICTIM’S conflicting goals.

MASON finds CLUE #2.

LOCATION INT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – STUDY
ACTION MASON asks VICTIM to explain why he won’t give CLIENT her money.
REACTION VICTIM states CLIENT is too immature to have money until she’s 25.
OUTCOME MASONs presses VICTIM, but VICTIM gets angry and kicks MASON out. MASON leaves convinced VICTIM’s intentions are not virtuous.
 
BEAT 11

MASON recieves CLUE #3 from INVESTIGATOR

CLUE #3: VICTIM invests money through WITNESS #4 (MURDERER)’S bank.

MASON sends INVESTIGATOR to investigate WITNESS #4 (MURDERER)’S bank.

Setup MASON receiving CLUE #10

LOCATION INT. RESTAURANT
ACTION INVESTIGATOR tells MASON he has information on VICTIM.
REACTION INVESTIGATORs tells MASON that VICTIM banks at WITNESS #4 (MURDERER)’s bank and is involved in real estate.
OUTCOME MASON tells INVESTIGATOR to investigate VICTIM’s associates at WITNESS #4 (MURDERER)’s bank.
 
BEAT 12

Setup the murder.

Place DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) at the scene of the murder.

Place WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) at the scene of the murder.

Place WITNESS #1 at the scene of the murder.

Setup the murder
Commit the murder
Show the ruse
Investigate the crime scene
Take statements from witnesses
LOCATION EXT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – FRONT LAWN
ACTION DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) approaches the house to see VICTIM.
REACTION WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) and WITNESS #1 drive up to see VICTIM. So DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) hides behind the house.
OUTCOME WITNESS #4 (MURDERER)’s path to see VICTIM is clear, and DEFENDANT (RED HERRING)’s opportunity is closed.
 
BEAT 13

VICTIM is murdered.

Show WITNESS #2’S TESTIMONY

Introduce MYSTERY #2.

Introduce WITNESS #2

Introduce CLUE #4

LOCATION INT. POLICE STATION
ACTION WITNESS #2 is trying to have a relaxing night.
REACTION VICTIM calls and says CLIENT is threatening his life, but he hangs up suddenly before he can finish.
OUTCOME WITNESS #2 sends a patrol car to VICTIM’S HOUSE to investigate.
 
BEAT 14

Show RUSE.

Introduce CLUE #5

Introduce CLUE #6

LOCATION EXT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – FRONT LAWN
ACTION WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) leaves his meeting with VICTIM, and VICTIM yells out the window saying WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) goes with him to get some business papers from the bank.
REACTION While driving away, WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) sees someone attack VICTIM in his study through the window.
OUTCOME WITNESS #4 (MURDERER), WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE), and WITNESS #1 return to the house to investigate.
 
BEAT 15 – MIDPOINT TWIST

Midpoint twist

Introduce CASE GOAL #2

LOCATION INT. PERRY MASON’S OFFICE
ACTION MASON plans and practices the argument he’ll use in court against VICTIM.
REACTION CLIENT enters and interrupts him and says VICTIM has been murdered.
OUTCOME MASON’s plans are dashed, the stakes are raised, and he has to set a new goal, which is to beat the PROSECUTOR in court.
     
BEAT 16

Investigate the crime scene.

INTRODUCE CLUE #7

Setup PROSECUTOR’S ARGUMENT

LOCATION INT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – STUDY
ACTION Police investigate the crime scene.
REACTION Police find evidence of a large ash tray used to kill VICTIM.
OUTCOME Police plan to do an autopsy report and leave.
 
BEAT 17

CLUE #7 corroborates CLUE #6.

Setup PROSECUTOR’S GOAL #1

LOCATION INT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – STUDY
ACTION Police asks WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) what he saw as MASON stands by and listens.
REACTION WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) says he saw a man through the window kill VICTIM with a large object, but he couldn’t see him clearly.
OUTCOME The police aren’t sure if WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) is reliable, and MASON is worried CLIENT knows DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) killed VICTIM.
 
BEAT 18
MASON interviews CLIENT and finds CLUE #8
Pretrial
Setback after Setback
Build the PROSECUTOR’s case
LOCATION INT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – LIVING ROOM
ACTION MASON asks CLIENT what she knows about the night of the murder.
REACTION CLIENT says DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) went to see VICTIM, and that’s all she knows.
OUTCOME MASON leaves frustrated.
 
BEAT 19

MASON follows CLUE #8 and interviews DEFENDANT (RED HERRING).

MASON finds CLUE #9 (SETBACK #1).

Introduce SETBACK #1

LOCATION INT. WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) CHARACTER #1’S LOFT
ACTION MASON asks DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) where he was and what he was doing the night of the murder.
REACTION DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) tells MASON he went to see VICTIM to beg, but saw WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) and ran and waited. Later, he heard WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) shouting and entered the house, finding VICTIM dead. Then he ran when WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) entered the room.
OUTCOME MASON leaves frustrated.
 
BEAT 20

Enact PROSECUTOR’S GOAL #1

Introduce SETBACK #2

LOCATION EXT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – FRONT YARD
ACTION PROSECUTOR tells WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) they’re going to reenact the events to determine if he is a reliable WITNESS #1.
REACTION They reenact WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE)’s experiences and prove he can tell the difference between different people ‘s profiles through a window.
OUTCOME PROSECUTOR is happy that WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) is reliable.
 
BEAT 21
Setup SETBACK #3
LOCATION EXT. VICTIM’S HOUSE – FRONT YARD
ACTION PROSECUTOR and WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) leave VICTIM’S HOUSE.
REACTION INVESTIGATOR watches PROSECUTOR and WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) leave.
OUTCOME INVESTIGATOR leaves.
 
BEAT 22
MASON states PROSECUTOR’S CASE and the stakes.
LOCATION INT. PERRY MASON’S OFFICE
ACTION INVESTIGATOR tells MASON about WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE)’s success identifying shadowy profiles through a window.
REACTION MASON states that he can’t challenge WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE)’s testimony because WITNESS #1 and WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) will corroborate his testimony.
OUTCOME MASON says he’s got a lot of work to do.
 
BEAT 23
Introduce SETBACK #3.
LOCATION INT. DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
ACTION District Attorney tells INVESTIGATOR he was seen watching WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) reenact the crime scene.
REACTION District Attorney tells INVESTIGATOR he will be called as a witness to verify WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE)’s reliability.
OUTCOME INVESTIGATOR reluctantly agrees to testify against his own case.
 
BEAT 24

State CASE GOAL #2

Foreshadow MASON receiving CLUE #10

Preliminary hearing
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – FOYER
ACTION INVESTIGATOR and MASON leave the preliminary hearing.
REACTION INVESTIGATOR says MASON lost to PROSECUTOR. So DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) will be tried for murder.
OUTCOME INVESTIGATOR is pessimistic, but MASON is optimistic that he can find a clue in VICTIM’s financial records, which INVESTIGATOR says he will have soon.
 
BEAT 25

Begin the trial.

PROSECUTOR states his argument.

Opening statements
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION PROSECUTOR makes his opening statement to the jury, saying DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) killed VICTIM and was seen by three witnesses.
REACTION MASON declines to make an opening statement.
OUTCOME JUDGE allows PROSECUTOR to call his first witness.
 
BEAT 26
WITNESS #1 gives his testimony.
MASON is on the defensive and is visibly losing while gaining clues.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION PROSECUTOR calls WITNESS #1 to the stand.
REACTION WITNESS #1 tells the court his account of the events.
OUTCOME PROSECUTOR ends his turn.
 
BEAT 27
MASON questions WITNESS #1 and finds CLUE #11
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION MASON cross-examines WITNESS #1’s testimony.
REACTION MASON tries to get WITNESS #1 to prove he saw the murder from an unreliable vantage. He gets WITNESS #1 to say he never met VICTIM.
OUTCOME MASON ends his turn.
 
BEAT 28
WITNESS #2 gives his testimony.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION PROSECUTOR calls WITNESS #2 to the stand.
REACTION WITNESS #2 tells the court the details of VICTIM’s phone call.
OUTCOME PROSECUTOR ends his turn.
 
BEAT 29
MASON questions WITNESS #2 and finds CLUE #12
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION MASON cross examins WITNESS #2.
REACTION MASON gets WITNESS #2 to admit he didn’t mention WITNESS #3 answered VICTIM’s call, making him an unreliable witness.
OUTCOME MASON moves for WITNESS #2’s testimony to be thrown out.
 
BEAT 30
Fill time and raise tension.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION JUDGE asks PROSECUTOR if he objects to the motion to throw out WITNESS #2’s testimony.
REACTION PROSECUTOR asks to delay deciding whether to throw out WITNESS #2’s testimony until they’ve heard WITNESS #3’s testimony.
OUTCOME JUDGE agrees to PROSECUTOR’s request and orders WITNESS #3 be put on the stand after PROSECUTOR’s next witness.
 
BEAT 31
WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) gives his testimony.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION PROSECUTOR calls WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) to the stand.
REACTION WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) tells the court the details of the events he witnessed.
OUTCOME PROSECUTOR ends his turn.
 
BEAT 32

MASON questions WITNESS #4 (MURDERER)

MASON finds CLUE #13

LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION MASON cross examines WITNESS #4 (MURDERER).
REACTION MASONs asks WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) about the nature of his meeting with VICTIM and gets him to admit it was about buying/selling securities.
OUTCOME MASON ends his turn and says he may call WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) back to the stand later.
 
BEAT 33 (TURNING POINT)
INVESTIGATOR gives CLUE #10 to MASON.
MASON is on the offensive but is visibly losing while gaining clues.
Dead ends and red herrings.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION MASON sits down.
REACTION MASON recieves the banking information he requested from INVESTIGATOR.
OUTCOME MASON begins reading the information.
 
BEAT 34
WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) gives his testimony.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION PROSECUTOR calls WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) to the stand.
REACTION WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) tells the court the details of the events he witnessed.
OUTCOME PROSECUTOR ends his turn.
 
BEAT 35
MASON dodges/deflects PROSECUTOR’S strongest argument.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION PROSECUTOR asks MASON to cross examine his WITNESS #5.
REACTION MASON declines to question the WITNESS #5, and PROSECUTOR learns that WITNESS #3 has arrived.
OUTCOME PROSECUTOR informs JUDGE that WITNESS #3 has arrived.
 
BEAT 36
WITNESS #3 gives his testimony.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION PROSECUTOR calls WITNESS #3 to the stand.
REACTION WITNESS #3 tells the court the details of the events he witnessed.
OUTCOME PROSECUTOR ends his turn.
 
BEAT 37
MASON questions WITNESS #3 and finds CLUE #
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION MASONs cross examines WITNESS #3.
REACTION MASONs argues WITNESS #3 didn’t know the identity of the caller, but PROSECUTOR says the argument is unfounded.
OUTCOME JUDGE rules MASON’s argument is unfounded.
 
BEAT 38
WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) gives her testimony.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION PROSECUTOR calls WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) to the stand.
REACTION WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) tells the court the details of the events he witnessed and says she saw DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) at the scene of the crime.
OUTCOME PROSECUTOR ends his turn.
 
BEAT 39
MASON questions WITNESS #6 (RED HERRING) and finds she has a motive and opportunity to kill VICTIM.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION MASON cross examines WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING).
REACTION MASON gets WITNESS #6 ( RED HERRING) to admit she is leaving out details that raise suspicioun she had motive to kill VICTIM.
OUTCOME MASON ends his turn.
 
BEAT 40 (Turning point)
MASON sets up his finishing move.
Mason is on the offensive and wins.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION MASON sits down and tells INVESTIGATOR to get WITNESS #1 to talk to him oustside by the window.
REACTION INVESTIGATOR asks why, but MASON insists he do it without explanation.
OUTCOME INVESTIGATOR agrees and leaves.
 
BEAT 41
MASON questions WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) and uses CLUE #10 to prove he had a motive to kill VICTIM.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION MASON calls WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) back to the stand.
REACTION MASON calls WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) back to the stand and uses the banking information INVESTIGATOR gave him to prove WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) had a financial motive to kill VICTIM and states that he killed VICTIM as he was trying to call the police and then pretended to be VICTIM.
OUTCOME MASON ends his turn.
 
BEAT 42
MASON questions WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) and uses CLUE #11 to prove he had an opportunity to commit THE RUSE.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION MASON calls WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) back to the stand.
REACTION MASON asks WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) to read a stack of cards very loudly while WITNESS #1 listens outside.
OUTCOME MASON ends his turn.
 
BEAT 43
MASON questions WITNESS #1 and uses CLUE #11 to prove WITNESS committed THE RUSE.
LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION MASON calls WITNESS #1 back to the stand.
REACTION MASON gets WITNESS #1 to admit he might have heard WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) tell WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) to bring WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) with him to get papers on the night of the murder.
OUTCOME WITNESS #1 confirms WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE)’s voice came from the window, and WITNESS #5 (MURDERER’S ACCOMPLICE) admits WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) killed VICTIM.
 
BEAT 44

WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) confesses to murdering VICTIM.

MASON wins and rests his case.

LOCATION INT. COURT HOUSE – COURT ROOM
ACTION PROSECUTOR looks to WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) to deny the accusation.
REACTION WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) doesn’t deny the accusation.
OUTCOME MASON rests his case.
 

CASE GOAL #1: Find a way to give CLIENT control of her inheritance from VICTIM.

CASE GOAL #2: Prove DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) didn’t kill VICTIM.

MYSTERY #1: What is CLIENT hiding?

MYSTERY #2: Who killed VICTIM?

RUSE: MURDERER faked an alibi by yelling at WITNESS #1 from a window.

PROSECUTOR’S ARGUMENT: All witnesses’ testimonies are reliable.

CLUE #1 (MYSTERY #1): Client is having a secret affair with DEFENDANT (RED HERRING)

CLUE #2 (MYSTERY #1): VICTIM is involved with large banking investments.

CLUE #3: VICTIM invests money through WITNESS #4 (MURDERER)’S bank.

CLUE #4: WITNESS #2 didn’t hear the caller’s voice change.

CLUE #5: WITNESS #1 heard WITNESS #3’S voice during the RUSE.

CLUE #6: WITNESS #5 saw VICTIM murdered with a large object

CLUE #7: VICTIM was killed with a large object.

CLUE #8: DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) was at the scene of the crime when VICTIM was killed.

CLUE #9: DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) was seen at the scene of the crime when VICTIM was killed.

CLUE #10: MURDERER owed money he couldn’t pay.

CLUE #11: WITNESS #1 has never med VICTIM and thus didn’t know the sound of his voice.

CLUE #12: WITNESS #2 didn’t answer the phone. So he didn’t know the caller’s voice changed.

CLUE #13: WITNESS #4 (MURDERER) buys and sells securities for VICTIM with a “power of attorney”

CLUE #14: WITNESS #3 didn’t know the caller’s voice changed after he handed the phone to WITNESS #2.

CLUE #15:

SETBACK #1: DEFENDANT (RED HERRING) was seen at the scene of the crime when VICTIM was killed.

SETBACK #2: WITNESS #5’s testimony is reliable.

SETBACK #3: INVESTIGATOR’s makes a mistake that helps the PROSECUTOR’s case and weakens MASON’s case.

 

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Comparison Of Film Script Plot Structure Outlines

This chart is an amalgamation of dozens of film script plot outlines I found on the internet, mostly on Pinterest. By putting these charts next to each other, you can see patterns, but it also becomes obvious there’s no single correct plot structure. Each outline focuses on different aspects of different kinds of stories with varying levels of detail. Many of the outlines and plot points I found were modified versions of other people’s, which is all the more reason not to put your full faith in any one source’s method.

 

Click here to view the spreadsheet in Google Docs

 

 

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Art

The 36 Adventures Of Captain Buigardo (A Choose Your Own Adventure Story Template)

Captain Buigardo's choose your own adventure formula plot story boardPick an Introduction:

  1. Capt. B is a successful pirate. Everything goes right for him.
  2. Capt. B is a failed pirate. His crew is on the verge of mutiny.
  3. Capt. B is a lovesick pirate trying to earn enough money to return to his lover in a faraway land.
  4. Capt. B is running from his past. He throws himself into his work and blocks everything else out.

Pick a Cataclysm:

  1. Capt. B tries to sell pirated records but is arrested and thrown in jail.
  2. Capt. B saves a beautiful woman from going to jail by going to jail in her place.
  3. Capt. B and his crew celebrate in a tavern and get into a brawl. Capt. B is arrested and sent to jail.
  4. Capt. b tries to double cross a crime lord. He’s caught and sent to a corrupt prison.

Pick a Vow:

  1. The prison is an underground pig farm where life is cheap. so Capt. B vows to escape.
  2. Capt. B has slept with many of the inmates’ sisters and many want him dead. So he vows to escape.
  3. Capt. B is appalled by the inhumane conditions of the corrupt prison and vows to escape and set right the wrongs.
  4. Capt. B realizes all the prisoners have lovers waiting for them on the outside. So he vows to set them all free.

Pick a Plan:

  1. Capt. B convinces the prison theater leader to help him use a formula plot template to write prisoner’s stories.
  2. Capt. B’s cellmate, a copy editor, inspires him to use a formula plot template to write prisoner’s stories.
  3. Capt. B conspires with the crooked chaplain to us a formula plot template to write prisoner’s stories.
  4. Capt. B is swept into an ongoing secret initiative to use a formula plot template to write prisoner’s stories.

Pick an Attack:

  1. Capt. B uses the prison theater to spread instructions to inmates and collect stories.
  2. Capt. B pesters the gang leaders and gets beat up until they go along with his plan.
  3. Capt. B gives a rousing speech to the inmates and inspires all of them to join him.
  4. The inmates take to Capt. B’s plan like bees to honey and get carried away with it.

Pick a Finishing Move:

  1. They put the stories in bottles and dump them into the bay just before the guards could catch them.
  2. They put the stories in bottles and hide them in a truck that sneaks them out of prison and dumps them downtown.
  3. They put the stories in bottles and flush them out of the prison into the bay with their sewage.
  4. they fold their stories into paper planes and throw them out the windows on a perfectly breezy day.

Pick a Prize:

  1. The people gather the stories and then riot at the prison gates and set all but the worst prisoners free.
  2. The stories make national news and the politicians sack the warden and institute prison reform.
  3. the mafia inmates hid a secret code in the stories organizing an attack on the prison that sets the inmates free.
  4. The stories reach Capt. B’s lover. Her father is a politician and pulls strings to bring down the corrupt prison.

Pick a Reckoning:

  1. After being freed Capt. B races back to his boat and flees with his crew before anyone finds out what else they did.
  2. After being freed many inmates move onto Capt. B’s ship where they start a mobile publishing house.
  3. Capt. B’s lover returns to him and they… make up for lost time.
  4. Capt. B opens a cabaret on his ship and makes a fancy living off of tourists and dock workers.

Pick a Sunset:

  1. Capt. B has many more absurd adventures before dying a very unlikely death at a very old age.
  2. Capt. B returns to the prison one year later and buys it.
  3. Capt. B is thrown back in prison a year later for doing the same thing that got him there in the first place.
  4. A year later Capt. B hangs up his pirate hat and settles down as Mr. B

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Formula Plot Templates
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6 Short Story Formula Plot Storyboards

 

Short story formula plot template outline

Here are a few outlines you can’t print out and write on to help you structure your story:

Short story formula plot template outline

Short story formula plot template outline

Short story formula plot template outline

Short story formula plot template outline

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Screenwriting for Movies
Screenwriting for TV
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Choose Your Own Adventure
Movie plot break downs
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7 Choose Your Own Adventure Templates And Prompts

Below are some choose your own adventure E-book templates and prompts I made. These are all public domain. So you can share them and profit off them freely. Click each link, download the Word Document and follow the instructions to create your very own choose your own adventure story.

This template is 2-pronged. Each step has 2 choices, which means you have few stories, but they’re longer. More 2-pronged templates will be coming soon.

130-page blank template

The following templates are 3-pronged. Each step has 3 choices, which means you have more, shorter stories.

120-page template with exploration themed prompts (Start here)

46 page Reader Friendly Template (more reader-friendly but less author-friendly)

120-page blank template

125 page blank reader-friendly template (more reader-friendly but less author-friendly)

370-page blank template

The 36 Adventures of Captain Buigardo (A 1-page inspirational plot map)

I’ve pasted portions of some of the tables of contents below to give you an idea of what you’re getting into:

Blank Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • A:
    • A1:
      • A11:
        • A111
        • A112
        • A113
      • A12:
        • A121
        • A122
        • A123
      • A13
        • A131
        • A132
        • A133
      • A2:
        • A21
          • A211
          • A212
          • A213
        • A22
          • A221
          • A222
          • A223
        • A23
          • A231
          • A232
          • A233
        • A3:
          • A31
            • A311
            • A312
            • A313
          • A32
            • A321
            • A322
            • A323
          • A33
            • A331
            • A332
            • A333

Exploration Themed Table of Contents

  • Introduction and Cataclysm
  • A: Explore “Feature A”
    • A1: Explore “Subfeature A1”
      • A11: Employ “Solution A11”
        • A111: Employ “Solution A111”
        • A112: Employ “Solution A112”
        • A113: Employ “Solution A113”
      • A12: Employ “Solution A12”
        • A121: Employ “Solution A121”
        • A122: Employ “Solution A122”
        • A123: Employ “Solution A123
      • A13: Employ “Solution A13”
        • A131: Employ “Solution A131”
        • A132: Employ “Solution A132”
        • A133: Employ “Solution A33”
      • A2: Explore “Subfeature A2”
        • A21: Employ “Solution A21”
          • A211: Employ “Solution A211”
          • A212: Employ “Solution A212”
          • A213: Employ “Solution A213”
        • A22: Employ “Solution A22”
          • A221: Employ “Solution A221”
          • A222: Employ “Solution A222”
          • A223: Employ “Solution A223”
        • A23: Employ “Solution A23”
          • A231: Employ “Solution A231”
          • A232: Employ “Solution A232”
          • A233: Employ “Solution A233”
        • A3: Explore “Subfeature A3”
          • A31: Employ “Solution A31”
            • A311: Employ “Solution A311”
            • A312: Employ “Solution A312”
            • A313: Employ “Solution A313”
          • A32: Employ “Solution A32”
            • A321: Employ “Solution A321”
            • A322: Employ “Solution A322”
            • A323: Employ “Solution A323”
          • A33: Employ “Solution A33”
            • A331: Employ “Solution A331”
            • A332: Employ “Solution A332”
            • A333: Employ “Solution A333”

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Formula Plot Templates
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TV plot break downs
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Art

Short Erotica Formula Plot Template

Note: This guide doesn’t teach you the way to write pornographic short stories. There’s no single way to write about sex, and since sex is such an emotional and often spontaneous activity the topic lends itself to free-flowing, spontaneous writing. Having said that, good stories tend to follow a logical progression of events based on cause and effect. Good writing also caters to human psychology; readers want realistic characters with reasonable motivation, rising action, a climax and closure at the end. This guide takes all of these elements into consideration and lays out a useful formula to writing short pornographic stories.

Getting Started

Before you can write a story you need to decide what the story is going to be about. The trick to picking the right story isn’t to have a million brilliant ideas. The trick is to eliminate 999,999 of those ideas until you’re down to one. In order to do that you need to ask yourself two questions:

1. What do you want to write about?

2. What do your readers want to read about?

I would advise any writer in any genre to write about what they, themselves want to read about. Trying to guess what other people want to read can drive you mad, but since we’re all humans with the same brains and hormones, that means someone out there wants to read the same thing you do. If you write about your interests you’ll be able to flesh out your story with details that express your passion and make your story more genuine, and since you’ll be speaking from your own experiences and fantasies you won’t have to think too long and hard about how to express yourself. Plus, you’ll have more fun writing for yourself, and the more fun you have writing the more fun others will have reading your work.

The Introduction Scene

Every sitcom or movie you watch will begin by introducing the main character. Pornography is no different. Movies can spend the first twenty minutes illustrating who the main characters are, what they want, where they live and what they’re doing with their lives. Sitcoms have to do all of that in less than one minute. Pornographic vignettes have to do that in a few paragraphs.

There’s no set length for how long each segment of a story needs to be. It needs to be as long as it needs to be to say what you need to say. So don’t get hung up on the length of your writing. Just make sure you say what needs to be said. Understand though that people read pornographic vignettes to live out a quick fantasy. They don’t need or want to know the characters’ entire life stories. They just need you to set the stage for their fantasy and move on towards the climax.

Here are the details you do need to include in the first couple of paragraphs of your story: A physical description of the main character. His/her name, location and maybe their occupation. You also need to relate the state of your character’s sex life. Chances are there’s something missing in your main character’s sex life. They could be lonely, just getting over an ex, taking their relationship to a new level, looking for their next fling or even avoiding sex for some reason. Whatever the case may be the reader needs to know what the main character wants and how they feel about their sex life. This brings your characters to life, makes them easier to relate to and gives them credible motivation for whatever they’re going to do for the rest of the story.

If your story starts with your main character leaving the house and having sex with some random person for no reason your story won’t flow; it might not even make any sense. Another very important reason to get into the main character’s mind is because sex is as emotional as it is physical. Half the eroticism of pornographic writing is exploring the emotional aspect of sex. In order to relate that you need to explore your characters’ thoughts, desires, expectations, insecurities, and reactions.

Since every pornography story revolves around the main characters you need to write believable characters. The best way to do this is to use yourself as the main character, and have the person “you” have sex with be someone you actually know (or at least have seen). It might help you to use your real names when writing the first draft. Then change the names when you’re finished. When you write about real people they’ll feel like real people and you won’t have to worry about inventing every detail out of thin air. Of course, since fantasies are exaggerations of real life you don’t want the details to be completely based on reality. You can and should tweak the descriptions, thoughts, and behaviors to meet the needs of the fantasy (and to protect the real identities of the people the characters are based on).

The Cataclysm Scene

Once you’ve established who your main character is, where they’re at in life, what they’re missing and what they want, then you’ve set the stage to give it to them. During the introduction segment of the story, the main character was going on about their life as normal. In the cataclysm segment, the main character goes somewhere or meets someone who opens up the opportunity for the main character to fulfill their unfulfilled desire.

In an action movie, the cataclysm would be an intense event that completely throws the main character’s life off track like an alien invasion or the death of a loved one. In a sitcom, the cataclysm would be an idiosyncratic opportunity or inconvenience. In pornography, you don’t have to get so creative. The cataclysm is usually nothing more than the main character meeting the person they’re about to have sex with.

If the main character already knows the person they’re about to have sex with then the cataclysm needs to be some event that changes the nature of their relationship. The easiest way to orchestrate this is to have one of the characters take a chance and hit on the other one either for the first time or harder than usual. Whatever happens, both characters need to have a reason for doing whatever it is they’re doing. Usually, the reason they’re stepping out of their comfort zone is because they’re really, really horny, they have a strategic goal they can achieve by having sex or they have some philosophical/emotional justification/need.to.

The Decision Scene

Your story began by introducing your character, and then something happened to your character that opened up the opportunity to fulfill their sexual fantasy. It goes without saying that your character is going to accept this opportunity, but it’s important to tell the reader why. At the moment when the main character accepts the opportunity, you need to get into the character’s head and explain their thought process. It may only take a sentence or two, and the reason may be as simple as the character being uncontrollably horny, but the reader needs to know this in order for the events that follow to flow logically and for the reader to fully empathize with the character they’re living through vicariously.  Your story can still be successful without this detail, but details are the difference between a good story and a great story.

The Crossing The Threshold Scene

You can’t lead your story up to a point where two people have decided to let go of their inhibitions and then immediately start having skin-slapping sex. There needs to be a transition scene that raises the emotional and physical energy in your story. If they just had full-on sex right now the story would be over. The reader wants to be teased and aroused before getting to the climax. Since your reader wants to be teased and aroused your character needs to be teased and aroused. So it pays to dwell on this phase of the courting ritual long enough to build some sexual tension. Have your characters make out and pet each other, and make sure to explain how the main character/s feel and think about the situation they’re in. Focus specifically on the first time your characters touch and the first time they kiss.

The First Rising Action Scene (Foreplay)

Once you’ve built up the sexual tension a bit you’ve set the stage for the clothes to come off and the characters to finally get their hands on each other’s genitals. Have your characters give each other oral sex, hand jobs, fingering or whatever foreplay your characters are into.

This scene should raise the physical and emotional connection between the characters Get inside their heads and elaborate on how elated they are and how they can’t believe what’s happening. Tell the reader how badly your character wants more. Describe how hard, wet, sweaty and hot the characters make each other.

The Second Rising Action Scene (Sex)

After your characters are on the verge of bursting physically and emotionally you can finally allow them to have penetrating sex. Describe the physical act in detail. Describe how it feels inside and out. Make the action go faster and faster. Let the characters lose control emotionally and tell the readers how the characters feel and what they’re thinking.

The Climax Scene

This segment of the story isn’t just about bodily fluids. This is the fulfillment of someone’s wildest dream. That’s a huge occasion that’s going to affect them emotionally. Take a moment to dwell on how emotionally and physically satisfying the experience is to the characters. Say how it affects them. Say how relieved and fulfilled it’s made them. Illustrate the emotional impact by how the characters act.

The Walking Off Into The Sunset Scene

Your readers don’t care where your characters are going to be ten years down the road. So you don’t need to dwell on the post-sex events of their lives too much, but at the same time, you can’t just end your story with, “…and then he came. The End.” Your readers are human beings, and human beings expect narratives to have closure.

Don’t overthink the ending, and if you’ve structured your story logically so far, the end will write itself. You just need to have your characters do the next logical thing that they would do in the situation you’ve created for them.

Like every other segment in the story, it’s not enough just to say what the characters physically do with their bodies. You need to tell the reader what the main character thinks and feels about the experience. How has it changed them inside? How has it changed their life? How happy did it make them? How will the experience change their life? What are the chances they’ll do it again?

Below is a summarized/modified version of this template sent to me by Carmen Webb, who has been using it to write their erotica shorts using about 1k words per section: 

Synopsis:

Short blurb about what the story is about, this can BE the Blurb.

Introduction:

Physical description of the MC, name location, maybe occupation. Sometimes you can add details of their desires to relate the state of the character’s sex life. You need to relate the characters’ thoughts desires, expectations, insecurities and reactions.

The Cataclysm:

This is the event that opens up the opportunity for the MC to fulfill their desires. It could be as simple as meeting someone or as complex as you like.

The Decision:

This is the point that the MC accepts the opportunity presented and needs explaining why.

Crossing the Threshold:

This is where you tease and arouse to build sexual tension.

First Rising Action:

This is building on Crossing the threshold and is where foreplay starts.

Second Rising Action:

This is for penetrative sex; the characters have been driven to the verge of ecstasy.

Climax:

This is the point to really point out how this has affected the MC and others. How does it fulfill their desires?

Walking Off into the Sunset:

Final resolution with detailed closure.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Formula Plot Templates
Screenwriting for Movies
Screenwriting for TV
Short Stories
Choose Your Own Adventure
Movie plot break downs
TV plot break downs
Free story prompts
Writing tips
Blogging
Art

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