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Plot Point 2 – 2nd Act Series


 

Plot Point 2 is when the protagonist faces a devastating setback. The plan they formed after the midpoint has failed. They will be blindsided by the actions of the antagonist – they never saw it coming, they didn’t realize the antagonist's strength is far greater than they had planned for. At this point, there is no help coming, and no hope for the protagonist. It appears as if the protagonist will be defeated. This is also referred to as the black moment or the dark knight of the soul.


Just prior to this moment, some type of death has occurred, a death of a loved one, a death of a mentor. For example, the protagonist’s sidekick dies, and they had the password to the laptop where the kill switch for a nuclear bomb is accessed. It could also be a symbolic death such as the protagonist’s favorite cooking appliance dying right before a cooking contest, a car battery that dies in the middle of nowhere just before going to the airport to tell someone not to leave because they love them – anything to show that the moment is the lowest moment for the protagonist in the story. Symbolically, this is also when the protagonist dies.


After the death, the protagonist is at their lowest. They will be lost, emotional, maybe even a complete wreck, and ready to give up. This is the moment where you must dig deep and show how the protagonist is feeling, show what they are losing, show their dream or goal being shattered into a million fragments with no possible way to put it all back together, and show that they don’t have the means (or possibly the desire) to do anything about it.


Then, and only then, show the protagonist reaching back through their journey to find the answer they need to rise up again – this is where they realize that they’ve had the means to beat the antagonist inside them all along, or that the answer has been in front of them the entire time and they just didn’t see it, or a side character gives them a pep talk, or they finally get that one piece of the puzzle that's been missing, and so on.


In other words, the second plot point also provides the protagonist with the final piece of information they need to prevail over the antagonist, and with no where to go but up, they have nothing to lose. With their newfound knowledge, they are one step closer to beating the antagonist. This doesn’t mean they take the information and go straight into battle. It means they still need to take the necessary steps (which will not be easy) to face the antagonist – to ensure everything is in place. For example, gather supplies, retrieve the missing magical artifact, set up the final battle plan, organize the army, etc.


Once the steps are complete, the protagonist can move forward into the final battle against the antagonist. The protagonist should remember what the stakes are and what it is they're fighting for.


  • Plot Point 2 occurs near the end of the second act, about the 75% mark.

  • This plot point is the catalyst that thrusts the protagonist into Act 3.

  • Plot Point 2 is the signal that the climax is coming soon. The momentum from Plot Point 2 towards the climax is relentless.

 

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