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The Screenwriter’s Roadmap by Neil Landau

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11

WHAT'S THE CURVEBALL?

Ratchet Up the Stakes at the Midpoint of Act Two

Act two is generally twice the length of acts one and three. As a result, it's not uncommon for the plot to sag at the midpoint. But an effective midpoint will provide a surprising plot twist—or reversal of fortune— that will increase dramatic tension and intensify our anticipation.

Must the midpoint of your screenplay occur precisely at the halfway point? Not necessarily. There are no absolute formulas or benchmarks. But many screenwriters like to structure their scripts into four parts: act one, act two (a), act two (b), and act three. In this configuration, the midpoint would occur at the end of act two (a). This affords the writer with a built-in midpoint event to ...

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