The Plot Point, The Darkest Moment, and the Answered Question: Three Ways of Modelling the Three-Quarter-Point
Many contemporary screenplay manuals, following Syd Field, encourage writers to place an act break approximately three-quarters of the way through the story. Although this would appear to be an area of widespread agreement, this essay argues that the manuals do not always define the 3/4-point in the same way. One common approach is to define the 3/4-point as a causally significant plot point; another approach is to regard it as an extreme point on an emotional curve, typically the darkest moment; and a third approach is to conceive of the 3/4-point as the answer to a previously introduced question. Taking a closer look at these three competing models of the 3/4-point can help us uncover the manuals' competing assumptions about narrative structure, showing how they conceptualize causality, emotion and comprehension.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Keating, P. (2011). The plot point, the darkest moment, and the answered question: Three ways of modelling the three-quarter-point. Journal of Screenwriting, 2(1), 85-98. doi:10.1386/josc.2.1.85_1
Journal of Screenwriting