The prelude from my short novel DeLonge, Blonde.
The relationship between tragedy and romance has often been an incestuous one. I hesitate to guess if Shane would say that this story is one or the other, but I can readily state that he would pronounce with a mischievous smile that it comprises a little of both. The good writer knows that conflict is a necessity when one wishes to create drama, and while Shane has been a writer whose own interests can render the most quotidian event filled with subtle conflict and thus dramatic (see: wind, blowing. Also see: hair, curling), he hesitates to subject his readers to the slow-moving story.
Which brings me to the following point: Shane has dictated that this reenactment should be both swift and brief, and will contain just enough conflict to turn the reader’s attention away from his daily distractions, but not too much so it results in the story being a product of mere escapism.
Film, while a visual medium, is also an alacritous one; taking the viewer on a journey from beginning to end usually within a mere ninety-minute timespan. So, a moment to consider the eight sequences of the film screenplay will serve to ensure the structural integrity of our story, remove any barriers to truth, and help the reader ascertain Shane’s wishes for the retelling of this story in literary form. One may argue that a quick exploration of these sequences will, in fact, add to the length of our story, and thus contradicts the intent of acceleration. To that I am certain Shane would say, will you please be quiet, please?
The eight sequences of a film screenplay follow:
Sequence one shares with us the status quo and inciting incident. Today, we will not concern ourselves with the status quo, and instead begin immediately with the inciting incident; this, of course, will assist us in the hastening of the storytelling process, and the status quo wasn’t very dissimilar to your current situation, dear reader, although I do concede that this can rightly be deemed mere conjecture. The second consists of the predicament and lock-in. This predicament is the one that’s central to the story, and the lock-in occurs when our hero (in this instance, Shane), has passed the point of no return; like Caesar he has crossed the Rubicon, and must continue towards his goal. The predicament will become evident early in our story, and Shane’s goal, you will soon learn, was to return to not having a goal. The third sequence opens Act II. It contains the first major obstacle and leads to greater risk, or first obstacle and raising the stakes. In our retelling, no such sequence will be necessary. Four and five cover the first culmination/midpoint, and the subplot and rising action, respectively. In our reimagining of this story, the midpoint will simply be the number that halves this book’s length; as for subplot, well, suffice it to say that we do not have time for such heel dragging. And while action will rise like a loaf in the oven, it would be remiss of us all if we failed to remind ourselves of Shane’s interest in the most mundane things, and so we should not expect bullets over Broadway, nor riots throughout Rome. Sequence six proffers to us the main culmination and end of act two, leading us to the final act along with new tension and a twist (seven) and resolution (eight). In our case, for reasons of health and safety, neither additional tension nor twisting of any kind shall be permitted. And as for a resolution, the reader is challenged with the following question: How often are life’s events wrapped in a neat bow? Thus, the instructions given here dictate that there shall be no guarantee of topsoil upon the grave.
Now that we have considered the eight sequences of film and understand the anatomical, or structural, nature of our story, it would be apt to commence. Or, as Shane might say, get on with it.
Header image ‘Berlin Street Scene’ by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner