Key Questions to Plot Development

9 Feb

No Way Out – the Challenge is taking a short story and developing it into a one-off drama for TV (however as the project develops this may change). Having posted the short story here, questions have been raised as to the direction the story will take. Today I answer those questions, whilst raising more of my own. Please feel free to jump into the discussion and get involved in this challenge.

Skyler asked:

1.Becky’s backstory. Why is such a young, sweet girl working in a place that is so ‘businessy’? 2.Who is the man that Poppy is having an affair with. How did they meet and what led her to do such an awful thing?

Firstly, who said Becky is a sweet girl. Looks are deceiving you know. Perhaps Steve was up. We don’t know why he has such a personality change, how many people seriously go through from a normal hard-working dad to a bank robber?

Poppys’ affair, this is something that needs to be answered, but I have no idea. I am thinking maybe Steves’ brother. Steve has been sunk to the darkest place, so would the guy that poppy has an affair with bear an impact, or does it not matter, the result is just the same?

Gethin asked:

What country is it in?  The bank scene suggests America i.e. guns etc, but the CSA from the last scene suggests UK. The reverse plot is a bit weird, am I to understand that it may well go anywhere?

It is set in the UK. Reading back through I have pondered if it is a bit Americanised but I don’t think so, pretty certain if there was an armed bank robbery here they would send in the tactical units which would have guns.

The reverse plot was initially used to make the short more interesting. I felt if the story was told in a linear fashion it would be quite dull, namely because we wouldn’t care his wife cheated on him, because we didn’t care about him. The backwards timeline gives that sense og oh my, how what is now a common occurrence can drive someone so low. So yes, it could go anywhere, the question is, do we just expand on whats there, of find another story within it?

Jessica asked:

So, where do you think you’re going to focus on the timeline?  On the back-story of what led to Steve’s criminal activity or on the present (now that he’s been apparently shot)?

Ha, I just said that in response to Gethin, work with what we have or search for an alternative? I am still thinking this one out so your suggestions are welcome….

2.  You already gave the little boy quite the reader appeal, so are you going to continue to work him in as a character?

Michael will feature, but I am reluctant to place too much focus on him. I guess it depends what we decide the definitive timeline will be. I would like Michael to be the calming influence, the rational. However, he could well be the flip side of that, the part that makes you slightly manic in your desperation.

3.  In the back-story, you made Steve seem like a very sympathetic character.  Yet, we see through his thoughts with Becky that he has two emotional extremes:  desire for companionship and severe hate/vengeance.  Will we get to see how his psyche has undergone such a change from a caring, loving father to whiskey-drinking, vengeful criminal?

To answer this, I know I must remain grounded in my thoughts. His psyche has changed because of the ‘fall’ his life has taken. The question is, how hard has he fallen? Now I say I must stay grounded because it would be easy to get carried away and say we should introduce drugs etc to enhance his despair. I am thinking simpler than that, we could just say he took out a bad loan to keep buying michael the stuff steve feels he deserve, and maintaining a pretence. Bad loans in the Uk are big news at the moment so not actually at all far-fetched. Steve potentially could have robbed that bank because they were going to destroy him if he didn’t pay back the money.  Can we say that the desperation has led to the  vengeful bitterness whilst constant looking at what others have, what he once had, that makes him who he is today? Is that strong enough?

Trying to put my thoughts into some sort of order I have created the mind map below.

Not the greatest picture, sorry. Hopefully though you can see the process I am following.


2 Responses to “Key Questions to Plot Development”

  1. Jessica S February 10, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    I love the idea of going for a loan, rather than turning to drugs. It changes it up, but it keeps it real and extremely relate-able to people all over the world right now.

    As far as Michael, I love his little character. However, I think if you add him too much, you’re going to get a chain-gain reaction. There are lots of interactions necessary from other people then (mother, caretakers, teachers, friends, etc.). I do like the idea of him being the reason for the loan gone wrong, though. People could really relate to how even under the best intentions, a loan is still a loan, and we are slaves to who we owe money (equates to desperation for freedom)

    By the way, I love your mind map. 😀

    • Ellie February 12, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

      Oh I am pleased you do. sometimes I worry that my ideas haven’t enough backbone, not enough drama. As always though I guess it is how it is written. sometimes the simplest ideas are the strongest.

      Think you are right about Michael, he needs to be there, but just as he is, the child caught up in the middle. I am still pondering so will be updating shortly!

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