In Sheep’s Clothing

Inciting Event: Gracie, a missionary in post-Soviet Russia, discovers the murdered bodies of her mentors, a doctor and his wife. This initiates her meeting with the Russian FSB (KGB) agent Vicktor—with whom her romance will take off. This does a nice job of setting off both the suspense plot and the romance plot all in one contained sequence.

First Plot Point: Gracie returns to her flat, still intent on getting back to America as soon as possible, only to discover her flat has been tossed. This forces her to seek Viktor’s protection. It brings them together forcibly—causing them to enter an actual (although still basically professional) relationship and, thus, the “adventure world” of the Second Act.

First Pinch Point: Still not trusting Vicktor, Gracie spends the night with a friend in the country—only to be shot at. She flees back to the city and officially comes into Vicktor’s protective custody. Note how the pinch both emphasizes the antagonistic force and advances the plot.

Midpoint: Gracie stays the night with Vicktor and his friends. This is the turning point more obviously in the romantic plotline, since this is where Gracie finally begins trusting Vicktor—and their mutual attraction becomes more evident.

Second Pinch Point: After a rocky moment in their relationship, Vicktor leaves Gracie in the protection of his crippled ex-cop father. Again, they are shot at, and Gracie escapes. Although not seamless, this is a prime example of how a good pinch point should emphasize the conflict in all the plotlines.

Third Plot Point: Gracie learns her friend Andrei has been snitching to the serial killer “the Wolf,” who is after her. Shortly thereafter, Andrei is shot. Andrei’s betrayal is a “worst thing” happening to Gracie, and his death hammers home the death/resurrection symbolism of the Third Plot Point.

Climax: As Vicktor is escorting Gracie to her flight out of Russia, they are abducted by the Wolf. Vicktor is shot, and Gracie is taken to the Wolf’s waiting plane.

Climactic Moment: With the help of Vicktor’s friends, Gracie jumps out of the plane and reunites with Vicktor. The plane crashes. This closes off both the suspense plotline and the romantic plotline.

Resolution: Vicktor goes with Gracie to America.

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