Forever Young

Inciting Event: Daniel’s girlfriend Helen is hit by a car and rendered comatose. Why is this the Inciting Event and not the earlier announcement, by Daniel’s friend Harry, that he froze a chicken and brought it back to life? This is the Inciting Event because this is a story about Daniel’s timeless love for Helen. The freezing is incidental—a plot device to facilitate the time-travel story.

First Plot Point: After Daniel decides to be frozen for a year to avoid the pain of what he believes is Helen’s inevitable death, he is discovered by the boys Nat and Felix—in 1992. This is a two-sided plot point. Daniel’s decision and freezing starts it off, but the Second Act doesn’t officially launch until he is awoken in the adventure world, fifty-two years later than when he was supposed to be revived. This also allows the remaining important characters—Nat, Claire, and Felix—to be introduced in the First Act.

First Pinch Point: Daniel follows the address on Nat’s jacket, meets Nat and Felix (who promptly adopt him once they get over their fears that he’s dead), and learns from them that they found him amidst a bunch of junk in an Army warehouse. This is a subtle pinch point, but it reinforces the idea that something went very, very wrong back in 1939, since the freezing machine was a highly confidential government secret that should have been guarded in a lab.

Midpoint: After Nat’s mother Claire lets Daniel stay the night at their house, Daniel meets up with a Harry Finley—who turns out not to be his friend. Again, this is a very subtle plot point. It almost doesn’t matter to the plot at all except that it signals the turn in Daniel’s attitude. He is devastated not to have found his friend and begins to accept the reality that he has lost the life he knew.

Second Pinch Point: While fixing Claire’s roof, Daniel has an age attack and nearly falls off. This is the first emphasis of Daniel’s ultimate antagonistic force in this story: his rapidly approaching mortality. This is the first scene since the First Act that ramps up the tension into more of a thriller-esque plotline, in preparation for the tense Third Act.

Third Plot Point: Daniel has another attack, falls out of Nat’s tree house, and begins aging rapidly. The FBI and the military send out APBs for him. The Third Plot Point usually emphasizes death in some way. Very often, a character will die at this point in the story. No character dies here, but Daniel’s mortality is very obviously at the heart of the plot in this scene.

Climax: Daniel learns Helen is still alive, and he races to find her. What triggers the beginning of the Climax (at the 88% mark in the story) is always a turning point—something that launches the protagonist into his final confrontation with whatever his keeping him from his goal. Daniel’s overall goal has always been to be with Helen, and his main story goal has always been to reconnect with someone from his old life in 1939. Both are suddenly made possible when he learns Helen is still alive. The military chasing him and his own aging body provide the final obstacles for him to overcome.

Climactic Moment: Daniel finds Helen out at the lighthouse where they grew up.

Resolution: Daniel asks Helen to marry him, and they go with Nat into the house.

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