My blog has been dark for a month now due to my recuperating from a pancreas transplant since April 26. I wasn't able to get a lot of writing done, but I did use my down time to learn a few things about what screen writers know that some novelists do not. I listened to a presentation done by Michael Hauge for The Romance Writers of America back in 2013. Michael has been working with screen writers and the Hollywood industry for over 25 years.
His presentation was specifically about taking your heroic character from identity to essence. His break down of movies like Shrek, L.A. Confidential and Shakespeare In Love were very telling as he showed the MC's belief in a false identity at the beginning becoming true Essence by the end. One of the most important plot points that develops this emotional arc is the mid-point of your story.
Your characters must still be going after their wants but beginning to want to meet their deeper needs. Shrek claims he wants to be left alone, but his true essence is that he wants to be loved. By the mid-point our MC has accepted the possibility that they can have their wants. The dream can be a reality. In romance the belief that true love is in their grasp.
This next part is crucial. A victory or defeat will catapult us into the final act of the story. However, this scene must represent a false victory-In Harry Potter where Harry wins the quittage match. Or a false defeat-In Shrek when Shrek hears Fiona say No one can love an Ogre.
The false nature of this scene is vital to your story. If the victory is False then your character relaxes, has their big romantic moments and gets closer to their essence just before everything falls apart. If it is a false defeat then your MC is defeated, ruined, ready to give up on love or their true essence. One last battle for the want,or heart, or essence of the character takes your MC from identity to essence if you have set them up with victory or defeat. It also creates a sense of helplessness or security and your reader senses that a twist or big plot turn is about to happen. This drives them to the end of the book.
The next time you're watching a movie watch for the victory or defeat to see how the screen writers do it. I had one hole in my last novel that I couldn't figure out. When I arranged the false victory in the right spot and then let the story unfold according to that one scene, all of the plot holes filled themselves in. Try it. Go look at what your working on and find the middle point. Is there a false victory or defeat? Where does the story want to go If you include one? Let me know if it works for you,and keep writing.