Plot point

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Plot Point is a term introduced into screenwriting by Syd Field . Including means a surprise in the course of a resulting complex plot ( plot ): Something different than was expected which enters or is suddenly expected. A certain occurrence must therefore have been promised in order to create a surprise .

If the viewer is curious about the occurrence of a certain event - usually the decision of the conflict between protagonist and antagonist in external or internal combat - a surprise changes the idea that one is inclined to have of what is coming. For example, the friendly older man who took the young girl with him after a car broke down and won't let her get out, one is no longer curious about what she wanted to achieve at the party she was going to, but whether she was or her kidnapper will get the upper hand.

If the viewer is curious about a certain explanation - mostly with regard to the reasons, course and authorship of a capital crime ( crime film ), but also other unexplained facts (e.g. the "true determination" of Harry Potter ...) - a surprise changes the performance that one makes of what the conditions that occupy one have brought about: after z. If, for example, the murdered little sister of the main victim is identified as her biological daughter, her father appears in a different light with the one he looks back on.

In other words, the surprise of a plot point changes the image the viewer has of either the upcoming or the then of a plot. This change of heart can and often will, but does not always have to be understood by the protagonist ( dramatic irony ).

In the classic Hollywood - cinema , there are usually two plot points , each of the next act usher. While the first surprise really leads the protagonist into the problem, the second gives him the opportunity to find a solution in the form of a decision or explanation.

In classical theater, after the second plot point, one sometimes speaks of a retarding moment : the solution that has been initiated is briefly called into question by something unexpectedly emerging from the past or something that blocks its sure occurrence.


  • Syd Field : The Screenplay Handbook: How To Make a Good Screenplay , Two Thousand One , 1993, ISBN 3-86150-035-3
  • Syd Field: The script. The basics of screenwriting , revised and expanded new edition, Autorhaus Verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-86671-019-1