The Perfect Score

Inciting Event: After failing to get a high enough score on his SAT test, Kyle decides to run with his best friend Matt’s idea and break into the building where the SAT answers are held. His main problem (his low score) is introduced in the first scene, but this scene—halfway through the First Act—is where he first engages with the main conflict (pulling off a heist). The rejection of the Call to Adventure is interesting here, since we have Kyle rejecting it prior to this turning point. Afterwards, it’s actually Matt’s paranoia that gives the story most of its resistance to the conflict throughout the rest of the First Act.

First Plot Point: Kyle and his recruited team case the SAT building, with the help of fellow student Francesca—whose father owns the building. As the characters literally say before entering the building, there is no going back from this moment.

First Pinch Point: The meeting Kyle has arranged for the team to discuss the plan for the heist is disrupted when it turns out Kyle’s loser brother is having a party in the place where they were supposed to meet. Furthermore, the team starts out at odds with one another and distrusting each other’s motives. Kyle finally pulls them together, so they can discuss the plan.

Midpoint: The night of the heist arrives, and Kyle, Matt, and Francesca break into the building. This is great Midpoint. In a story with as simple and tight a timeline as this one has, it makes perfect sense to start of the main set-piece “action” scene at the Midpoint, which allows to develop throughout the rest of the story.

Second Pinch Point: They finally find the test on a computer but are unable to print it without security passwords. They appear stymied: the antagonistic force’s power and the stakes are all emphasized. This also provides an important turning point, as it inspires the six of them to work together to figure out the answers for themselves.

Third Plot Point: As they’re on their way out, Matt allows himself to be caught and arrested to save the others, particularly Francesca, who couldn’t get out in time. This forces everyone, but especially Kyle, to reevaluate their priorities. Why are they doing this? Is cheating really worth Matt’s going to jail?

Climax: The next morning (after Francesca bails Matt out), the team all reassembles at the school, prior to taking the test. One by one, they reveal they’ve decided not to use their stolen answers to cheat.

Climactic Moment: Kyle too reveals that he’s decided not to cheat.

Resolution: In an epilogue-like montage, the test scores and futures of all the characters are revealed.

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.

Email: