Tag Archives | Tangled

Plot Busters – Three Tips from TANGLED

1. A debate scene that starts in Act I and doesn’t end until The End.

In Act I, Blake suggests that the main character question a decision. This debate goes on until the Act I climax where he/she makes the decision and reaches the point of no return. The debate is over. Or maybe not.

After seeing the floating lights and then meeting Flinn, Rapunzel has to decide whether to trust him and whether or not she should leave the tower. Small moments build up to her decision. But when Mother Gothal shuts Rapunzel down and tells her she will never leave, Rapunzel reaches that point.

She lies about Flinn. She decides to trust Flinn or at least make a deal with him. And she decides to leave the tower.

But the screenwriters didn’t leave it at that. They continued the debate. From the slight pause before Rapunzel is willing to touch her feet to the grass to the hesitation before using her hair to save their lives. And then at the end, the debate returns in full force when Rapunzel believes Flinn has abandoned her.

  • Does your debate continue through out the entire story?
  • How can you show moments of doubt before your character makes a major decision?
  • And can you show why he/she overcomes those doubts and makes the decision?

2. Following through with the Promise of the Premise.

That’s what our friend Blake refers to as Fun and Games during the first part of Act II. It’s why people want to read your book. What kind of story will your title, cover, and blurb convey? If you were to have a movie poster of your story – what would be on it? That’s what you want to give your readers. Or they’ll end up disappointed.

Looking at the poster for TANGLED with Flinn holding a fry pan and Rapunzel standing in front of him wielding her hair, I expected a fun story with great action and some great hair tricks.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

  • Do you follow through with the promise of your premise?
  • Look at the first half of your Act II to find out. (Though Rapunzel wielded her hair like a lasso through out the entire movie!)

3. A smart antagonist (Bad Guys Close in – second half of Act II)

Readers don’t respect a stupid villain. Which means their respect for the protagonist drops too when he/she overcomes the stupid villain. As a reader, I crave the smart, well-rounded villain. I love when I understand the villain’s perspective and could even see the story from his/her pov. Now, I’m not going to say that I could understand Mother Gothal’s pov. She was selfish and wanted to stay young and beautiful. I’m not saying she couldn’t have been more three-dimensional.

But I loved her tactics.

She played with Rapunzel’s mind. Mother Gothal could have just captured Rapunzel and brought her back to the tower. But no. She wanted Rapunzel to come back on her own, willingly. So she challenged Rapunzel, stating Flinn would leave her once he had the stolen crown back in his thieving paws. Then Mother Gothal went one step further and made sure that happened or that Rapunzel believed it to happen. And Rapunzel went willingingly.

  • How does your villain stop your protagonist?
  • What does he/she do behind the scenes?

Check out Stina’s blog for her breakdown of TANGLED Part Two!

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Plot Busters – TANGLED breakdown in 15 sentences!

Scroll down for the link to Plot Busters – Tangled (part 2)

I usually only do one Plot Busters breakdown a month but Stina and I decided to team up and post together about the movie, TANGLED. I used Blake Snyder’s beat sheet from Save the Cat. And she used Emotional Structure: Creating The Story Beneath the Plot. A Writer’s Screen Guide by Peter Dunne. Check her post out too!

This time I’m going to describe each beat with only sentence. And then I have a challenge for you at the end. Okay? Let’s get started.

1. Opening Image:

Through narration we learn about the magical flower, Mother Gothal (the witch) and how Rapunzel got her wicked cool magical hair.

2. Theme stated:

(Okay, I watched the movie and took notes with six kids in the room, 3 of whom I was babysitting. I forgot to watch out for the stated theme. And the movie left with the kids, so I couldn’t rewatch it. Sorry.) But I’d say one of the themes is courage to follow your dreams.

3. Set-up

Rapunzel wants to leave the tower and see the floating lights but Mother Gothal says no; and as the viewer we know all the big stakes and implications of her goal, even if she doesn’t yet.

4. Catalyst

Flinn, who stole the royal crown, runs away and climbs Rapunzel’s tower to hide.

5. Debate

Rapunzel must decide whether to trust Flinn and leave the tower. (Awesome debate scenes.)

6. Break into Two (Act II that is)

Rapunzel leaves the tower, and through song, experiences the outside world for the first time. (Sounds cheesy, but I loved it.)

7. B Story (love story or subplot)

After leaving the tower, Flinn and Rapunzel learn to trust each other.

8. Fun and Games

Rapunzel and Flinn stop at a bar filled with ruffians and Rapunzel wins them over with her sweet ways; and using her hair, she saves her and Flinn from soldiers.

9. Midpoint

With soldiers chasing them, Rapunzel and Flinn run through tunnels and escape a flooding dam only to be trapped in a cave where Rapunzel reveals the magical qualities of her hair to save them.

10. Bad guys close in

Mother Gothal tries to convince Rapunzel that Flinn doesn’t like her and challenges her to give Flinn the stolen crown as a test whether he’ll stick around or not.

11. All is lost

Mother Gothal “rescues” Rapunzel from Flinn’s old thieving buddies and reveals Flinn sailing off without her and with the stolen crown.

12. Dark night of the soul

Back in the tower, Rapunzel remembers her parents and that she is a princess so she decides to confront Mother Gothal. (This was the weakest part of the movie for me. Babies can’t remember their parents! Not believable.)

13. Break into Three (as in Act III)

In her ultimate act of courage, Rapunzel confronts Mother Gothal with the truth.

14. Finale (climax)

When Flinn climbs the tower to save Rapunzel, both of them choose the road of self sacrifice to defeat Mother Gothal. (To really describe what happened in the climax would either require three sentences or a bunch of semi-colons.)

15. Final Image

Through narration, we see Rapunzel reaching her dream, reunited with her parents and together with Flinn.

Phew. It’s hard at times to sum up entire scenes with one sentence. But it helps with focus and figuring out what your scenes are really about. And you’ve got to check out a more thorough version of TANGLED at Blake Snyder’s website! I didn’t notice it until I went to link to his site. And I didn’t change any of my answers, and some of them are different too! Check it out.

So, here’s my challenge: Spend an hour and fill out this 15-point beat sheet with your own current wip or a story you are plotting. One sentence per beat! If you combine the 15 sentences you’d have the most concise synopsis ever!  With room to add details.

Read Part 2 – Three tips from TANGLED

What part of structure do you struggle with the most?

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