Over time, I will be taking apart movies, books, and other stories to show story elements. First, we're going to start with a 10 minute short made by the Blender Foundation. Watch the video below, Big Buck Bunny, and then I'll take it apart. It's a great short, please take the time to watch it. (And watch through to the very end, even after the credits. It's worth it.)
The major plot elements in any story are Inciting Incident, Rising Action/Rising Storm, Climax, Falling Action, and Conclusion/Resolution.
You've probably already guessed a few of these after watching the video even once, but here's a dissection for you.
Inciting Incident - The Butterfly is killed by the evil rodents . . . (violently!)
Rising Action, or Rising Storm - The rodents attack Buck Bunny and he runs away. But then he pauses, and suddenly is overcome with determination. He formulates a plan to capture the rodents in the forest.
Climax - Buck Bunny fight with the rodents, defeating them with ease. The major point here is the squirrel revealing he is a flying squirrel. Frightening. (They're actually very cuddly fellows).
Falling Action - Our hero has defeated the flying squirrel and rests happily.
Conclusion, or Resolution - While this collides with the Falling Action to some extent, the bit after the credits is satisfy-able for the Conclusion.
Lets go back to the Inciting Incident. What was his motive? From a broad and general perspective, we could be right in assuming it's for revenge. But if you look closer, Buck Bunny's virtues seem to be pretty strong - he's generally a nice Bunny, so the real motive is justice. Justice and revenge tend to often divide the line between heroes and anti-heroes, or heroes and villains. Many times we don't want to give our good hero a drive of revenge - but it's realistic. So is justice.
But mix and match the two and create something unique. Your hero might be wanting revenge for something the villain did - notice it's revenge, not justice. Or the villain could be seeking justice - not revenge.
Of course, you could couple the two. Revenge within justice, or justice within revenge.
The possibilities aren't endless - but there are more than mortal man can think up in a century.
Big Buck Bunny, is a good example of motive. Over the next few days and weeks I'll be showing you several other stories, each highlighting one of the plot elements.
I suggest watching it again, with the plot arc in mind. What do you see? Any aspects you like?
~R. A. H. Thacker