This is the second part of the series on screenwriting. Clickhere for first part of the series. This part of the series deals with developing a basic storyline from the theme. The theme could be developed into a storyline using a sub-genre. Choosing a particular sub-genre depends upon the interest and research of the writer.
The following are the popular sub-genres:
Action – Gangster, War, Western (cowboy), Girls with guns, Spy films, Martial arts, Rape and Revenge, Underworld/Mafia
Adventure – Survival, Jungle/Sea/Mountain adventure, Expedition for places, people or treasures, Space adventure
Thrillers – Suspense thrillers, Paranoid thrillers, Erotic thrillers, Political conspiracies, Techno-thrillers
Comedy – Classic, Dark humor, animals, family comedies, comedy thrillers, Parody, Satire, Spoof, Adult comedies, Urban comedies, Buddy films
Crime – Detective, Mysteries, Robbery, On the run, Outlaw
Drama – Adaptations, Family drama, Docu-drama, Courtroom, Melodramas, Soap Opera, Social problems, Tragedy, Biography, Political drama, Periodical/Historical dramas, Disease/Disability
Romance – Love, Sacrifice, Teen films, Erotic, Culture, Social problems
Horror – Classic, Possession, Haunted house, Creature, Erotic, Serial killers, Psychic powers, Zombies, Cannibals, Vampires, Witchcraft, Werewolves
Science Fiction – Aliens, Cyber Punk, End of world, Post-apocalyptic, Cyborgs, Time travel, Virtual reality, Sci-Fi action, Sci-Fi thrillers, Multiverse, Multiple dimensions
Fantasy – Angels and demons, Mysterious worlds, Lost worlds, Fantasy creatures, Superhero, Pre-history, Fantasy vehicles and weapons
The basic plot should be developed based on the subgenre. The story needs to be developed using a point of view. Most of the action and adventure films follow Third person perspective, which doesn’t take the experiences or views of people into account. The love stories are generally told from first person perspective as it makes things easy for expressing emotions and feelings. The second person perspective is rarely used in special cases.
The basic storyline should have a conflict and resolution at the very least. This helps the writer stick to the central theme without fluctuating towards the subplots in the story. The basic plot should have 5 points in the film which define the progression of the story.
0 % – This is the opening sequence of the film. It should set the tone of the film or introduce the character or environment which is related to the central theme.
25 % – This is the mid-point of first half of the story. It should take the story towards the conflict and raise the action. The introduction of characters or description of environment should be completed at this point.
50 % – This is the mid-point of the story, referred to as interval or intermission. It should be the point of no return. The story by this time should be irreversible and everything that can go wrong does at this point.
75 % – This is the mid-point of second half of the story. The conflict should escalate and the protagonist generally fails at this point. The alternate ending (generally negative ending) approaches at this point and the resolution seems to be impossible.
100 % – This is the closing scene of the story. The protagonist should resolve the conflict by this time. The story reaches a state of equilibrium after the conflict is resolved.
This forms the basic storyline required for developing a complete story. The basic storyline should contain key characters and the basic structure of the story. These things may change several times over the course of writing but at initial stage, a satisfactory storyline helps the writer to focus on the development.
The third part of the series deals with the story structure for developing important scenes. Click here for the third part of the series.