Our good friend, Mark Achtenberg, offered a follow-up to our discussion on Formula Freaks, and in it, he quotes Wells Root, a man known for his classic 1980 book, Writing the Script. Here’s a portion:
Remember Shaw's unbreakable rule. For this and all following chapters there is no unbreakable rule.
This three-act design principle is never a rigid structure. It is a generalized framework, elastic and flexible. Almost every great story you can think of will reveal striking variations. Originality lies in creative distinctions. The beginning, the middle, and the end is a concept to start with. Where you go with it is a measure of your creative imagination.
In fact, a number of filmmakers, critics, and intellectuals reject the three-act design. Flatly. Indignantly. They say, among other things, that the tidy, packaged quality of the beginning, the middle, and the end is superficial. It is too patent a manufacture. In life things never happen that way.
Indeed they don't. "No one has ever seen," said Picasso, "a natural work of art." In any field of art, ancient or modern…
Thanks, Mark. I loved it. To read the rest, go here.