Monday, 30 June 2014

Pracicing skeleton plots 1: The Three Act Structure

Ladies and gentlemen, I present, for your amusement and edification, the Three Act Structure:

NB: I realise this makes no sense.

Act 1:

The Scribblers are, as is their custom, chilling in the Pit. Shift and Wraith are playing a game in the training room in which Wraith goes into a room and hides, and Shift has to find him, first as an animal with excellent hearing or sense of smell, but increasingly as animals who rely on their vision. Lyric is helping by constructing a series of exciting things for Wraith to hide behind or in, all of which have strong scents or natural sound mufflers.

A sound of an elephant trumpeting calls the other Scribblers into the room, and Shift morphs into human form again. She announces that she can't find him, and anyway she has better things to do. Amity and Finesse, who can both perceive that Wraith is hiding behind Lyric (he is wearing one of Lyric's old jackets to disguise the scent) look at each other, but before either of them can put Shift out of her misery, Chronal comes in.

He looks dark and forbidding as he stands suavely in the doorway. He wraps a bubble of unmoving time around Amity and Finesse, sealing them completely from the outside world.

Act 2:

Inside the bubble of unmoving time, Amity and Finesse talk. Amity informs Finesse that Chronal was of completely sound mind when he did this, and wasn't even scared or upset. If anything, he felt gleeful, excited, as before a game. Finesse realises that this must because Chronal is the current Thumb Master. She reminds Amity of the old custom of Thumb Master, long since abandoned but, now she comes to think of it, abandoned on Chronal's turn. The title means that at some point, whichever Scribbler is Thumb Master must isolate one or two Scribblers from the rest and work out how they would take them down if they needed to. No notice or warning, just pick a quiet day. Finesse points out that he has left it about three years, and Amity makes a quip about his perception of time.

They decide to escape. Amity says everyone outside is moving really fast compared to them. She says she thinks it's probably been weeks. This worries them a bit, but then they realise Chronal has probably speeded the others up too. Finesse reaches out and stops Chronal so that he is in line with time in the bubble. Amity makes him feel profound remorse and a strong desire to acquiesce, and he releases them from the bubble and slows down the rest of the room to normal. Amity then gives him a profound desire to unburden himself of all his secrets, and he tells them that they are right, he is exercising his Thumb Master powers, but that he didn't construct or even listen to the rest of the plan because he knew they would do this. He says when he left them to plan, the last he heard was Shift saying something about a de-powerer. Amity compels him with an unwavering loyalty to their team, and he places another time bubble around them so they can move around the room without wasting any time.

They find that the training room has been turned into a crude prison, with old fashioned bars as well as a more sophisticated electronic system. Finesse asks Chronal to age the equipment to make it functionless and the metal rusty, but he won't. She gives Amity a stern talking to about not playing the game properly, and what would they do if it really came to this situation, so Amity takes proper, if apologetic, control of Chronal's mind, and he gets them out of the room.

At that moment, a mechanism activated by the door opening causes a de-powerer to activate, blasting all three of them. Chronal, freed from Amity's control, runs away.

Act 3:

As the two are deciding what to do, they notice a woman leaning nonchalantly against the wall beyond them. It is Eraser.

She starts a monologue about how lucky she is to catch them under such circumstances but before she can get beyond the mild early threats, Finesse fly-kicks her in the face and she goes down, two teeth out and tongue swelling rapidly. Finesse wraps a torn strip of her costume around her mouth tightly.

A Comic Scene follows, in which Eraser attempts to mime her threats.

They march her to the outside of the building, then throw her out to the army who are obviously waiting outside.

They discuss the plan (though not in front of the audience, for reasons of Suspense), then walk boldly out of the door.

AMITY: (To the army and officials waiting outside) That feeling you have now, that faint apprehension, that is the feeling of my self-restraint. This is a trial, and you are very lucky that this is a trial because as you can see, a real threat has emerged.  Did you think we stupid enough to walk through that door all at once? As leader, Finesse went first and now we have a woman who will destroy the world and you have depowered the only person who can stop her. Give me the re-power that you have certainly brought with you.

SOLDIER: Make us.

FINESSE: Is that what you want? She's a softie, that one.  But she doesn't know who has the device. If you want her to, she can compel you all to take your most precious possessions and lay them at her feet. But this is just a game. We would rather not generate the bad press.

They person with the repowerer crumbles and gives it up, and Finesse and Amity immediately re-power themselves and de-power Eraser. Then they both do a shameless dance of glee. Amity compels the other Scribblers to come towards them, while Finesse blocks the use of all their powers. Chronal hands over the thumb master token to Wraith, and everyone looks a bit grim because really they should be able to take down two members of their team with the other two.