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Glossary: Story structure

Here's a list of definitions introduced during this lesson.
  • External feature: the clothes, design or look of a character.
  • Act One: consists of introducing the characters, introducing the story, and getting a landscape of where the story is trying to go
  • Act Two: consists of the choices and actions your main character makes as they attempt to overcome the escalating obstacles in pursuit of their goals
  • Act Three: consists of the final test of the protagonist and the resolution that follows; where the story comes together
  • Antagonist: is a force that gets in the way of your character’s wants and needs; typically “the villain”
  • Final Crisis/Climax: the most intense moment of the film for the protagonist who should be in danger of losing everything they value most; “the ultimate test”
  • Inciting Incident: an event which leads to a key obstacle your protagonist faces and sets the rest of the story in motion
  • Low Point: the point in the story when it seems like everything is lost for your main characters
  • Moral: the lesson that the main character learned at the end of the story
  • Point of No Return: a choice which the main character can never turn back
  • Resolution: the return of the world and characters to a calmer place, perhaps a more complete or better version of themselves
  • Story Beats: the most important moments in your story
  • Story Spine: a tool used to develop story beats following a simple pattern
  • Structure: the ordering of the events, or a sequence of beats, in the story
  • Theme: the idea that connects all the events in the story and is connected to the moral

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