The Aviator

Inciting Event: Howard decides to build a monoplane to break the speed record.

First Plot Point: The monoplane is finished.

First Pinch Point: Howard begins compulsively washing his hands.

Midpoint: Kate leaves Howard, and he burns all his clothes.

Second Pinch Point: Howard crashes the spy plane.

Third Plot Point: Howard must appear in a Senate hearing to defend charges against him of war profiteering.

Climax: The hearing begins.

Climactic Moment: Howard flies the Hercules plane for the first time.

Resolution: Howard plans to build jets but can’t stop repeating phrases.

Notes: The most interesting thing of note here is how the structural moments show us the throughline of the movie. This is a sprawling story that, on the surface, seems to be about many things (Howard’s Hollywood career, Howard’s relationship with Katherine Hepburn, Howard’s OCD). But the plot points back up the emphasis of the title by showing us this is really a story about Howard’s love of aviation. This is an awesome example of how to use your plot points to keep your story focused, even when it’s huge and multi-faceted.

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