The Words

Inciting Event–Micro:  Rory finishes writing his manuscript–a manuscript he’s been slaving over for three years.

First Plot Point–Micro: Rory sends his manuscript to an agent. He and Dora get married, and Dora gets him a nice old briefcase as a gift.

First Pinch Point–Micro: Rory asks his father for money. His manuscript gets rejected, repeatedly.  

Inciting Event–Macro: An attractive girl walks into the auditorium as Clay is giving a reading of his new novel. The name of the novel is The Words, and the story tells us about the lives of Rory and Dora Jansen.

Midpoint–Micro: Rory finds a manuscript in the briefcase Dora bought for him. He reads it and falls in love with it. He copies it onto his computer. Dora reads it and assumes he wrote it. She loves it so much he can’t bring himself to admit that it wasn’t his words. He promises to send it to an agent and does so. After a while the agent contacts him. He makes a deal with Rory, and the book becomes a huge success.

First Plot Point–Macro: During the first break of the reading the girl brings Clay a glass of wine. She introduces herself as Daniella and they strike up a personal/private conversation. Clay tells Daniella he is currently separated from his wife.

First Pinch Point–Macro: Things are going well but Clay must leave their conversation and start the next part of the story.

Second Pinch Point–Micro: Rory is confronted by an old man who reveals himself as the true author of the book. The man talks about how he lost it many years ago. He insists on telling Rory about how it was lost and tells Rory more about what was going on in his life when he wrote it.

Midpoint–Macro: The public reading ends as Clay advises that if they want to know the rest they must buy the book.

Second Pinch Point–Macro: Daniella pushes Clay to show her where he writes. He brings her to his apartment. This is bringing up the tension because he’s deciding he wants to know more about Daniella.  This goes against his holding onto his wife and past mistakes.

Third Plot Point–Macro: Daniella and Clay drink some wine and get better acquainted.  She asks about the rest of the story so Clay tells her.

Third Plot Point–Micro: Rory seeks out the old man and offers to make things right but the old man refuses. We have to live with the choices we make in life.  He has to live with his.

Climax–Macro: Daniella pushes him to know Rory’s real future, and Clay gets defensive. He asks Daniella to tell him how the story should end. Daniella confronts Clay with a realization or assumption that the book is more autobiographical than he is willing to admit. They kiss. She forces him to choose to let his wife go. This is the underlying goal of the encounter. Will Clay love again? Will he let go of the mistakes of his past. She asks him to choose between life and fiction, implying they have blurred together somewhere along the way for him. He asks her to leave. She urges Clay to let his wife go and asks: Life or fiction?

Climactic Moment–Macro: To me, the Climactic Moment is Clay’s response to Daniella’s questions, but the movie doesn’t directly show us that answer. It indirectly tells us with the Resolution.

Climax–Micro: Rory comes clean and wants to give the old man credit, but the agent convinces him not too. He convinces Rory to give the old man the money he made from the book but not to ruin both of their reputations.

Climactic Moment–Micro: Dora leaves Rory because she can no longer trust him.

Resolution–Micro: Rory learns of the old man’s death and buries the manuscript with him. He then decides to keep the secret and continue to live the lie.

Resolution–Macro: I believe  Clay chooses fiction. This is implied when the macro plot line cuts to the micro plot line at the Climactic Moment. Rory and Dora are still together, and Dora tells Rory that they are going to be fine. I believe Clay chooses to let Daniella go.

Notes: It was challenging to break down The Words. The two parallel story lines left me with having to interpret or take some chances with some of the structure. But I feel I was able to get somewhat accurately close to the proper points for each story line. I also took the chance and structured the macro plot line in sequence with the micro plot line so we can better see the timing in which they both developed relative to each other.

(Submitted by Kurt Petrey.)


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