Movie: Directed by Shekhar Kapur

Hook: Elizabeth is happy enough, even though imprisoned. She dances with her ladies and makes love with Lord Robert, her childhood sweetheart. Her world is presented as one of a comfortable home, where she is surrounded by people who adore and serve her.

Inciting Event: After a Protestant conspiracy against the Catholic Queen Mary, Elizabeth is falsely implicated and taken to the Tower. She meets the dying Queen, realizes she will soon be Queen herself, but refuses to promise to uphold the Catholic faith. Rather, she insists she will what is right for “my people” according to her own conscious.

First Plot Point: Elizabeth is taken to the palace and crowned Queen. Almost immediately, it is put to her that her most important duty is marrying—either Spain or France. She resists, in no small part because she is in love with Lord Robert. It is made clear that her opinions as a leader are not thought of in high regard.

First Pinch Point: When her advisers almost unanimously clamor for her to send troops to eliminate the French bastion in Scotland, she reluctantly agrees—but immediately regrets going against her own better judgment when she receives word of the massacre. She feels she has sent her people—her “children” as represented by the wounded boy who brings back word—to the slaughter. She weeps before a portrait of her father, Henry VIII, feeling she will never measure up to him as a leader.

Midpoint: Elizabeth leads the charge against the bishops, convincing them to sign an accord so that both Protestants and Catholics may live together peaceably. She does so with her own womanly charm, putting the combative bishops at their ease, but also the firmness of her own convictions. She does not hide behind her council this time (although Walsingham helps by locking up the most contentious bishops). She also agrees to meet her French suitor, the Duke of Anjou.

Second Pinch Point: After learning Lord Robert is already married and discovering the Duke of Anjou in the midst of an orgy, Elizabeth refuses to see any more suitors. She demands Lord Robert, in particular, “grow up” and take responsibility for his own foolishness and his role as her subject—rather than her lover.

Third Plot Point: Walsingham kills the French Marie Guise, ridding Elizabeth of one of her prime enemies. When Lord Robert suggests a marriage treaty with Spain, she dismisses him.

Climax: Elizabeth realizes her councilors’ policies will eventually subjugate England through a marriage treaty. Even though she is “only a woman,” she determines to follow her heart and to protect England by remaining a Virgin. She dismisses her main councilor.

Climactic Moment: Elizabeth authorizes that the Catholics who have plotted against her—particularly the Duke of Norfolk who covets her throne—should be executed.

Resolution: She takes her place as an icon for the people—the Virgin Queen.

Sign Up Today

hwba sidebar pic

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