Step Five: Battle

I’m still digging all the good stuff out of John Truby’s book, THE ANATOMY OF STORY, 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller. The 22 steps mentioned in the subtitle have to do with building plot. But Truby begins the book by offering seven of those 22 steps that building a great story structure.

Step five is Battle. Throughout the middle of the story, the hero and his opponent engage in several confrontations as they each try to reach the goal. The conflict escalates toward a Final Battle, which finally determines who wins the goal. This final battle may be a conflict with violence or a conflict with words.

In THE ODYSSEY, Odysseus slays the suitors who have tormented his wife and destroyed his home. In CHINATOWN, a cop kills Evelyn, and Noah gets away with Evelyn’s daughter while Jake walks off in despair. In THE VERDICT, Frank defeats opposing counsel by using brilliant lawyering and persuasive words in the courtroom.

This step is fairly self-explanatory, so I won’t try to offer a strategy for making this work. If you have no final battle in your story, you need one.


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