The First Plot Point is when the protagonist must make a decision to act. It comes after the inciting event, and in fact, the inciting event forces the choice the protagonist must make. This is where the protagonist will make a bad decision based on a fear, flaw, or misbelief because they are avoiding pain or discomfort about their new normal. This bad decision is the springboard for conflict and more bad decisions as they pursue their goal.
The First Plot Point marks the end of the first act and the beginning of the second act and occurs around the 25% mark.
The First Plot Point is the catalyst for the second act.
The First Plot Point is when everything changes for the protagonist. Once they make the decision to act, they are thrust into unfamiliar territory where they will face setbacks as they reach their goal and overcome their fear, flaw, or misbelief. There is no returning to the status quo once the protagonist makes the decision. The protagonist knows what the stakes are and must face the conflicts and overcome them to get what they want. See Character Arc in a Nutshell for more information about a character’s want.
Examples of a First Plot Point might be:
Protagonist decides to fulfill their bucket list even though they’ve been given two months to live and should be in hospice (First Plot Point) because they were diagnosed with cancer (Inciting Event)
Protagonist decides to go after kidnappers/search for his wife on his own without telling his best friend who is a detective (First Plot Point) because his wife was kidnapped (Inciting Event)
Protagonist decides to open their own business even though they don’t know anything about how to run one (First Plot Point) because they were fired from their job (Inciting Event)
In each example above, it won’t be easy for the protagonist, the stakes are high, and there’s no going back to the status quo for any of them.
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