Reversal and reframe: plot techniques

My mind wandered today as I was thinking about someone’s post on a writing forum “I’m good at characters and dialog, need help with the story and plot.”  According to Neal Baer, a lot of writers are good with the characters and dialog, so that poster may have a heck of a time finding someone to partner up with.

According to Truby, plot is one of the easiest things to learn.  Two plot techniques popped into my head.  The reversal… a good example is in the Panic Room, where the characters are originally trapped in the panic room with the baddies outside, then suddenly the baddies are in the panic room, and the main character is outside.  The second one was the “reframe”.  I don’t know if this technique is on anyone’s list, but I like it.  It’s when you think the story is about something, but it turns out it’s actually about something else.  This usually involves raising the stakes, but isn’t that true of every plot technique?  Unfortunately, I can’t think of a good example that isn’t a complete fake-out — Sixth Sense, The Game, Usual Suspects.  Anyone know a good example of a reframe that isn’t quite a fake-out? 

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3 Comments

Filed under Film, Writing

3 responses to “Reversal and reframe: plot techniques

  1. amol

    I am a copywriter for an ad-agency. i would like to know if there are any other techniques for writing a plot especially for art-films, what are the dos and donts.

  2. writingiswriting

    I’m impressed that you are planning to put a plot in an art film. As far as I can tell, they don’t seem to have them! A lot of art films tend to shun the accepted wisdom of Hollywood with its 3-act structure (or Truby’s rules), with mixed results. I think if there are any do’s and dont’s for art films, it’s do nothing a Hollywood film would do and do everything it wouldn’t.

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