Okay, you are committed. Your character has stated, “As God is my witness, I will ____.” This is where your character declares his belief and stands by it.
Nothing is going to stop him now. If you want him to prove himself, this is where he does it. This is his time to be tested, and he’s passing with straight A’s, even though the obstacles get very hard.
As he gives up where he was in order to get where he wants to go, he finds himself in midair. The only thing that sustains you when you’re in midair is your belief. Without it you’d fall on your face. But he’s got faith now, and he’s got tools. You’ve been making him stronger and stronger from pages 45 to 60.
In the first half of Act II, we saw stakes of obstacles. Now show us stakes of issue.
WHAT ARE STAKES OF OBSTACLE/STAKES OF ISSUE?
For the first half of Act II, (pages 30 to 60), your hero is saying, “I want it. I want it.” And the stakes against him are obstacles that seem to say, “you can’t have it.”
Then on page 60 your hero says, “I am going to have it!” He’s saying obstacles don’t matter, he’ll just knock them over. He’s committed.
Now what he wants starts to change from a dream to a reality, and when your dream changes to reality is when you get realistic about your dream.
Stakes of issue are questions like “Do I really want it?” “Am I willing to give up this to have that?” “Now that I’m standing on the precipice looking at this thing, is it worth it because I’ve really been through it already and I see it but I’m not there yet?” Do you see how he’s now dealing with his dream realistically and the stakes are ones of issue? In asking himself these questions he is now willing to change.
ALMOST ANSWERED PRAYERS
In The African Queen, Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart have been through it all. This is it; this is the end; they are in a bog. They’ve tried every which way to get out and now they fall in an exhausted embrace of deep sleep. The camera pulls out and we see that they are three feet from the open saw.
THE PERFECT EVENT
We need to quit when we are three feet from the open sea. Because then an event happens. In the case of The African Queen, it starts to rain.
Before page 75 there is a scene where your hero will just above give up what he committed to on page 60. (This example from The African Queen actually occurs later than page 75, but since it’s a strong cinematic image, we’ll use it anyway.)
HE HAS TO LET IT GO
There comes a moment when the thing wanted becomes the thing gotten. That moment turns on a very important change in attitude.
Inner Movie Axiom: In order to have a dream become a reality, it must be given up as a dream. Then it happens. How? Because of the event that occurs. In African Queen, the key change came when they were willing to fall into a deep sleep with each other. The exhaustion of fighting for their goal brought the greater goal into focus. They gave up. That way they gave the event a chance to occur and make the dream a reality.
DO WHAT YOU DO AND IT WORKS
You can work and work on something and try to force a space for it where there wasn’t one. But no matter what heroics you perform, it needs something else. That something else is – you need to let it go. Trust that you’ve done everything you can do. Now let what you sent out come back.
I have a friend who was on the phone constantly, generating business. She called me to bemoan the fact that nobody had returned her calls. It was because she was still on the phone! Stop generating, let the world come to you.
Okay, pages 60 through 75. To learn is to let yourself enter new territory. Do everything you can, then let it go.
Take two hours now. See where your hero takes you – even to places you had no idea you’d go.
©Andrea Nicola Dodgson, 1971.