How can you tackle a hero's low point in a screenplay? I'm at a point in a script where a hero has been soundly defeated by the villain and I'm not entirely sure where to go next. Any ideas would be helpful.
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It’s usually a moment for serious introspection, where the hero examines why they were pursuing what they wanted and whether or not it is worth persevering.
As Stephen says. It's a false defeat. You have to know their end goal. If you know what that is you can work towards it, which is usually the climax and depending on your story the victory.
Sometimes in low points there is a lot of denial to mask the pain of failing. In these moments, it can be interesting to have the protagonist's denial mirror that of the antagonist. A temptation to give into the dark side as it were.
Rocky movies are awesome. Rocky always hits rock bottom mid-way through the movie, but then someone/some thing motivates him to fight. Cut to a training montage & climatic fight. The end. That's screenplay writing -visuals.
Bring in one of the minor characters to provide assistance or a pep talk.
I find it helps if I tap into my own emotions at different times in my life, it makes it more real when I'm writing and gives me a jolt, this even helps with simple things, like expressions, smells, you know, explaining it. Good Luck!!!
Do you have an overall dramatic question you are examining. If you do, you can ask yourself, what part of that question haven’t I explored. What could happen that would make the hero prove or disprove this premise.
You can also look at previous victories your hero has had. Could a consequence of one of those come back and trigger action.
Could the hero see and opportunity. Instantly fail, but the fail trigger more opportunities.
You may have just run out of story. That is common. Go back to page -20, the life that led up to the inciting incident, can you bring part of that life into the story as fuel.
The hero's weakness is their strength. In Act 1 you introduce something in the character which is unique to them so they can use this in Act 3 to overcome the villain.
Sounds like you painted yourself into a corner. Change your mind set to begin with. Maybe you'll see a solution.
If the Hero is soundly defeated, the story is over.
If the Hero tetters on the edge of defeat, there's still more story to tell.
The hero's weakness is the very thing that transforms them into that which they were really meant to be and thus becomes their victory and their destiny.
I like it when a hero is broken. I find it adds a different level of depth to the character, and strikes a deeper connection with the audience. Let him experience the despair from his defeat, let him wallow in it, but then come across something or someone that sparks back the flame. Reminds him of the reason why he faced the antagonist in the first place. Let that thing or person be so enlightening, that it gives him renewed purpose and fight to press forward towards the goal again, this time, with even more heart.
That's my suggestion. Hope you figure out the best way forward, Marvin :)
Methinks that there is something fundamentally wrong with your story's theme if you are not looking forward to writing this part of your script, Marvin
This is the point where your hero starts to become heroic. There should be so many questions/problem that all you need to do is line them up for him to knock down. It should be easy from here not hard!
If you have your hero defeated by the villain, well, the hero can learn from his defeat and in the end finally defeat the villain with what he learnt. In the Dark Knight Rises, Batman loses his first battle against Bane at great cost and in the end, he kicks his ass.
Maybe a flashback to a time when the hero overcame a difficult situation, possibly as a child. Or perhaps a close friend or family member overcame some great challenge which the hero observed, and admired.
Hard to say without any context, but sounds like you may have a major story problem. Perhaps go back to your outline, or outline what you have and map out different directions. See what works best before moving forward.
If you know where you're ending, then work backwards from there. If you don't know where your hero's journey ends, then decide that first to help you figure out the lowpoint. Whatever the lowpoint is, it has to eventually lead them to the end. I don't start writing until I know my ending which makes it a lot easier to figure out going in reverse.
Thanks, everyone. I think it would be moreso the execution thats tricky for me. So the context is she's been thrown into the spotlight because of her powers, she's constantly tried resisting the attention. So one day she's too late to save someone because she's trying to hold on to her old life and someone dies. After getting some training she is now finally beginning to accept her new life/identity. Then she loses publicly to someone who seems much stronger than her. So now It's executing her dealing with the harsh media attention and rising from the ashes to beat the villain. Maybe I'm stuck because I'm just overthinking it.
Yeah your over thinking, welcome to the club Marvin, Take a break and come back refreshed. It's a good plot. You have her raging against it, becoming, then succumbing to her original mindset on defeat and then rebuilding. It's a good false defeat. The battle is internal for her not just external. Her mindset is what makes her weak and that's where she needs to go. to overcome her own beliefs and become the superhero that saves the shit.