Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

September 2, 2014

Trees

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 5:24 PM

An old saw about writing fiction goes like this:
 
Put your protagonist in a tree.
Throw rocks at he or her
Bring your protagonist down from the tree
 
Basically, put your protagonist into a difficult situation, throw impediments at him or her while they try and overcome the difficult situation, then bring them down from the tree as they solve the challenge.
 
In my opinion, that old saw is old news. Here’s the new one:
 
Put your protagonist in a tree.
Throw rocks at he or her
Bring your protagonist down from the tree
Put them back in the tree
Throw more rocks at he or her
Bring your protagonist down from the tree
 
This new saw includes what is called the ‘turnaround’ and every good story has one. Think back to the novels and stories that you have read. You’ll see that the good ones have a turnaround in every one of them.
 
Just when you think the hero or heroine has solved the challenge placed in front of them, all of a sudden everything goes to pot.
 
Take the movie ‘My Cousin Vinny’. One of my all time favorites. Three quarters through the story, Vinny, played by Joe Pesci, has made such a great argument for the defense that viewers feel the two young boys will be deemed innocent of murder. But then the prosecution brings in a surprise witness that proves the two are guilty. We all know that the two boys are innocent so at this turnaround, how does Vinny make the case for their innocence against such damning evidence.
 
He does and it is a perfect example of a turnaround. Watch the movie and find out.
 
The bottom line is that turnarounds in stories make for a very entertaining and rewarding experience. The moviegoer or reader gets their money’s worth.

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