Always

Movie: Directed by Steven Spielberg.

Inciting Event: Firefighting pilot Pete is approached by his best friend Al with the news of a new job opportunity, training new pilots in Flatrock, Colorado. In the aftermath of yet another near scrape with death on Pete’s part, everyone is urging him to try a safer line of work. He rejects this “Call to Adventure” out of hand, since he loves the risks of his job.

This is also where hapless pilot Ted Baker obviously (if silently) falls for Pete’s girl Dorinda.

First Plot Point: After finally promising Dorinda to take the job in Flatrock, Pete crashes his plane and dies after saving Al from a burning engine. He discovers that he is now a “spirit” who can influence those still living with “inspiration.

He has clearly left the “Normal World” and entered the “Adventure World” (even though the actual setting doesn’t change).

First Pinch Point: Pete arrives in Flatrock, where he discovers that Al took the job as trainer and has just been assigned Ted as a new recruit. Pete decides it would be hilarious to inspire Ted to dump his plane’s load of fire retardant directly on Al, prompting Al to dismiss Ted.

Midpoint: While Ted is waiting out a storm on his way home, Pete realizes a crazy homeless man can hear him. He tries to use him communicate with Ted, but the old man ends up conveying a slightly different message than Pete intended: Ted should go back and fight for his dream—and, incidentally, Dorinda. This is a great little Moment of Truth, played with enough humor and irony to keep it from being on-the-nose.

Second Pinch Point: While out with Dorinda, Ted performs CPR on a dying bus driver and saves him—impressing Dorinda. This is a nice pinch, since it both emphasizes the stakes of death, acts as a catalyst in Ted and Dorinda’s relationship, and (most importantly) causes problems for Pete, since he wants Dorinda to still “be my girl.”

Third Plot Point: Dorinda dances with Ted and kisses him. Again, this is a nice twist on the usual low moment of the Third Plot Point—since it’s objectively positive for everyone… except Pete, who is in agony, torn between the Thing He Wants (keeping Dorinda) and the Thing He Needs (loving her enough to let her go).

Climax: Dorinda takes Ted’s plane and goes out, by herself, to rescue firefighters at night.

Although Ted often takes the forefront in this story, it is ultimately about Pete and Dorinda learning to let each other go, so the Climax properly focuses on Dorinda’s brush with death and Pete’s ability to embrace the Truth, help her, and bless her in moving forward with her life without him.

Climactic Moment: After Dorinda crashes the plane in the lake, Pete helps her escape and run back to Ted.

Resolution: None to speak of.

Notes: Pete is following a Positive Change Arc.

Sign Up Today

hwba sidebar pic

Sign up to receive K.M. Weiland’s monthly e-letter and receive her free e-book Crafting Unforgettable Characters: A Hands-On Introduction to Bringing Your Characters to Life.