Formulating the Concept of the Plot Genotype
If we take a look at Propp’s work, it seems intuitively clear that the plot points correspond to the concepts of the Pivotal Eighth Function and the Pivotal Nineteenth Function. As Propp argues, the Pivotal Eighth Function is the function that truly serves to set the fairy tale in motion. It marks the difference between the Preparation and the Departure for the Test. Similarly, the Pivotal Nineteenth Function concludes the Struggle and prepares the way for the Return of the Hero to face a Difficult Task. At this level, the work of the two great theorists of the plot is compatible.
Before you can begin writing your screenplay, you need to know four things: the opening, the plot point at the end of Act I, the plot point at the end of Act II, and the ending. When you know what you’re going to do in these specific areas, and you’ve done the necessary preparation on action and character, then you’re ready to begin writing. Not before.1
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- 2.Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Structure and Form: Reflections on a Work by Vladimir Propp” Trans. M. Layton in Vladimir Propp, “Transformations of the Wondertale”, Theory and History of Folklore. Ed. Anatoly Liberman. Trans. A.Y. Martin and R.P. Martin, 1984, p. 170.Google Scholar
- 7.Syd Field, The Screenwriter’s Problem Solver: How to Recognize, Identify, and Define Screenwriting Problems, 1998, p. 26.Google Scholar
- 8.Propp, Morphology of the Folktale, 1968, pp. 30–36.Google Scholar