The 8 Point Arc


When working in groups for the script workshop, we came up with the following elevator pitch –

  • setting – an old, rustic empty workshop in the city
  • an unfinished robot wakes up alone in the workshop
  • he searches around and finds his own blueprints
  • searching the city alone and ignored (rain, blue filter) he fixes himself as he wanders, using old parts and rubbish on the ground
  • the climax – he finds out what he was made for, possibly bringing the inventor back or helping him in some way

My 8-point story

I used the 8 point arc of storytelling to help me craft a short story around this plan.

Stasis – This is the “every day life” in which the story is set.

Trigger – Something beyond the control of the protagonist (hero/heroine) is the trigger which sparks off the story.

The quest – The trigger results in a quest

Surprise – This stage involves not one but several elements, and takes up most of the middle part of the story.

Critical choice – At some stage, your protagonist needs to make a crucial decision; a critical choice. This is often when we find out exactly who a character is, as real personalities are revealed at moments of high stress.

Climax – The critical choice(s) made by your protagonist need to result in the climax, the highest peak of tension, in your story.

Reversal – The reversal should be the consequence of the critical choice and the climax, and it should change the status of the characters

Resolution – The resolution is a return to a fresh stasis – one where the characters should be changed, wiser and enlightened, but where the story being told is complete.

A half built robot wakes up in an abandoned workshop. He looks around him, panning shots of the cluttered room – combination bedroom, kitchen and working area – and the walls plastered with blueprints and sketches. Twitching each part of him to test the movements (ie Kill Bill), he pulls himself over to the window.

From the window there is a view of an empty city at dawn, in freezing temperatures. Looking around at a warm coat and hat hanging by the door with obvious concern, the robot pulls himself over to the door. He opens it cautiously and looks outside with trepidation, pausing to put on the hat and a scarf before dragging himself outside.

Wandering the empty city streets, the small robot is ignored by passersby as the day wears on and the streets fill up. He used ID in an old battered wallet to search faces and silently plead with pedestrians for help. He has trouble moving alone the street, as several key parts of his legs and arms are incomplete.

As he searches the streets, he begins to notice the rubbish – cans and old car parts lying on the street. Using chewing gum, wrappers and his own wires, the robot begins to patch himself up, and fill in missing parts. As he does this his traveling becomes easier.

By midnight he is running low on power and on the brink of shutting down. At his lowest point, he considers the photo in the wallet he brought along sadly, only then noticing a flake of sawdust on the ground, the same as was scattered all over workshop. Rounding a corner, the robot spots the old inventor, passed out while searching for spare parts in a skip.

Finding new strength to help the man who made him, the robot picks himself up and helps the inventor, using unknown strength to lift him into an old cart and losing some of his new makeshift parts along the way. The robot pushes the cart back the way they came.

The scene fades in with the awakening of the old man, lying back on the bed in the old workshop. He looks around, noting that the place is tidier – slightly. The robot comes over with quiet concern, poking at him and checking him for injuries, while the inventor looks on proudly. A reversal of an unshown earlier time, where it was the old man spent his time working on the little robot, building him with love.

His companion complete, and the robot having new found pride in his abilities, they live together in quiet comfort. A story of the basics in life – no flashy high-tech robots or labs, just companionship.

I love image presented by the beginning of the story – the abandoned workshop, the robot fixing himself as he walks, but I am still not sure about the message. A silent story like the one I had in mind needs a punchy end – a reveal about the robot, or a dramatic way of him to complete himself. I’m not sure I’m there yet..


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