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Ravenlocks 09-29-2006 03:39 PM

Escalating tension
Each scene is supposed to build on the one before it so the story flows instead of feeling episodic. Anybody want to talk about specific methods you use to block out this rising tension/sense of building as you're outlining?

Hamboogul 09-29-2006 04:11 PM

Re: Escalating tension
I wish I knew.

I tend to think in terms of wants and hopes.

Initially, the wants of one character works opposite the wants of the antagonists. But then you build the internal hope which often works against the want.

So in addition to the want of one working against the want of the antagonist, you have the hope of the protagonist working against the want.

Natlang 09-29-2006 06:46 PM

Re: Escalating tension
Whenever a character solves a problem, it can directly or indirectly backfire and cause a new, bigger problem(s). It doesn't have to be linear, though. Maybe three of the small solutions combine into a bigger problem, and solving that problem leads to three more small problems that eventually lead to a huge problem. There's no limit to the possible substructures, as long as the audience is constantly surprised about the results of an action and it always leads to greater stress for the protagonist.

Somewhere in the middle of Act II it should cross the point where a casual viewer might think they're hitting the climax. Then keep ruthlessly piling it onto the poor protagonist for another 30 minutes.

Leave a few problems unsolved up to and through the whole climax, which preserves some lingering suspense even during the big confrontation. Then those loose ends can be tied during the resolution.

Just the way I see it... Probably everyone has a unique way of building tension.

whistlelock 09-29-2006 06:59 PM

Re: Escalating tension
I generally say to myself, "what would be the worst, most idiotic thing that someone could do in this situation that will lead to the most public humilation? Okay, let's do that."

Alyssa Runswithwolves 09-29-2006 07:13 PM

Re: Escalating tension

Originally Posted by whistlelock (Post 301693)
I generally say to myself, "what would be the worst, most idiotic thing that someone could do in this situation that will lead to the most public humilation? Okay, let's do that."

That would be my advice too.;)

Ravenlocks 09-30-2006 12:37 AM

Re: Escalating tension
Good answers. I think I can use them all in various ways. That's cool. Thanks, guys!


P.S. I like your sassy icon, Hammy.

whistlelock 09-30-2006 01:09 AM

Re: Escalating tension
I rule.

Biohazard 09-30-2006 02:45 AM

Re: Escalating tension
Rising tension basically means that things get worse, and that basically means 'don't repeat the beat'. If your hero almost gets caught, don't have them almost get caught again. Have them get caught.

Every time things seem to be going well, they get worse; and every time things seem like they canít get any worse, they do.

Look at every scene in your script and ask yourself: "What's the worst that could happen?" Then have that happen. This is often quite fun to think over.

I'd like to elaborate on some examples, but I'm strapped for time right now, so I'll just say that in Star Wars, the likelihood that the Death Star would be destroyed is microscopic once the heroes dive into the trash chute. The whole Death Star sequence is a great example of things going from bad to worse.

vig 09-30-2006 11:50 AM

Re: Escalating tension
like life.

you are expecting a call for a new job that you need to pay your rent. but when you get home the door is locked cause you didn't pay your rent and the cell phone is inside and your landlord hates you.

you climb through a window as you hear your phone ring, you get in the house and answer it but the phone dies.

the door opens and it's the police arresting you for breaking in and entering. you use your one call at the police station to call the person you think called for the job and the police tell the person on the other line that you are obligated to tell you that this call is being sent from a holding cell in jail.

that kind of thing.

magicghost2977 09-30-2006 02:22 PM

Re: Escalating tension
wow vig, you had a rough friday night

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