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You know what, I totally mistook one formula for the other. Some days ago I mentioned this cool formula, linked to that cool podcast, and even though I listened to the podcast again, I didn't realise that I hadn't shown the Hollywood Formula they talked about but instead something else: the 7 point plot structure from this lecture by Dan Wells.
And no one calls me out on it. Le sigh.

But since I use both formulas together it doesn't really make a difference to me. Plotting so far has always been my great writing weakness, except in these very short short stories that I sometimes write. I learned these two plotting formulas so close together and they make so much sense that they are practically one (to me at least).

So the actual Hollywood Formula has also much to do with the main characters, not just with structure of a story. Also, it is more complex than but still quite similar to Holly Lisle's Sentence or Swain's plot line up.

Lisle Story Model (the Sentence):
- Character with a need
- against
- Antagonist with a need
- with a twist.

-> Protagonist with a need versus antagonist with a need in a setting... with a twist.

(Hero: Ugly feared Oger
with a need: who wants to be accepted loved to get his swamp back
against: from ruler
Antag with need: is sent by the ruler with an inferiority complex to rescue a beautiful Princess so ruler can marry her and become King,
Twist: but when he does, falls in love with her, pisses her off and fails to realize that she herself is an Oger.)

Swain's Plot Generator:
- Situation
- Character
- Objective

- Opponent
- Disaster

-> Character in Situation with an Objective against an Opponent leads into a Disaster.

(-> When ugly Oger tries to get his swamp back from ruler with inferiority complex, he has to free the princess the ruler wants to marry, falls in love with her and due to a misunderstanding gives her up to the ruler anyway.)

Hollywood Formula (as heard on the Writing Excuses podcast)

- Protagonist with a concrete goal.
- Antagonist with a goal that is directly opposed to the protagonist's goal; he tries to activly stop the protagonist/hero. Antagonist must have consciousness.
- Relationship Character (that's new!) basically explains to the protagonist (and the reader) how he needs to change to solve the problem, and with that spells out the theme of the movie/story.

3 Act Structure:
ACT 1: introduces charas and their goals, ends with the fateful decision that starts the adventure. (In the 7 Point Structure it is the Hook up until Plot Turn 1.)

(Ugly Oger who pretends that he needs no friends finds himself burdened with a donkey and a formerly private swamp full of other fairy tale creatures and decides to get rid of them.)

ACT 2: longest, all characters try to achieve their goals, but at the end of ACT 2 the antagonist seems to win and the protagonist reaches an utter low point. (In the 7 Point Structure that would be Pinch 2, I think.)

(He totally falls in love with the princess that he had to rescue for the ruler to get his swamp back. And then he misunderstands something he overheard, rejects her and practically forces her to marry that ruler. Very mature, Shrek.)

ACT 3: (If the story is not a tragedy —) Hero fights their way back up, pulling everything together they learned during the whole plot, overcomes the Antagonist, and wins the whole battle, creating an emotionally satisfying ending.

(But his self-proclaimed friend, the donkey, forces him to admit that he does like to have friends, if only to find out what the princess actually said: that she does love him back! So he takes the dragon and the donkey, goes to the girl, has the ruler (who still wants to marry her, if not for love, but at least to become King in an effort to get rid of his smallness issues, and who now also tries to kill the ugly Oger) eaten by the dragon to be able to marry the princess — and as a weird reward for surviving this crazy story she becomes as ugly as he is, which both don't mind bc of TRUE LOVE. The End.)

Can you see why Hollywood Formula and this 7-point plot system were to me practically the same? They just build on each other.
Of course, the best part about the YouTube videos on the 7-point system was the explanation and visualisation on how to structure the subplots and story arcs in such a way that you still have an overview about what's going on and that they actually make the story stronger by knitting the different plot arcs together.
THAT actually was the best lesson on plotting I've ever learned.

Dan Wells: Story Structure [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


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