Trough of Hell: How to Conclude Act Two of Your Screenplay with Maximum Impact (Scribe Meets World Screenwriting Series)

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Do You Want to Know How to Conquer Act Two?
If you’re like me, you know how your screenplay or novel* is going to start and end. Maybe not the exact image or line, but you’ve got a rough idea of what you’re going to write. So you begin writing your story with lots of enthusiasm…until you reach the middle, aka Act Two.

That’s where you get stuck. Suddenly, all of your enthusiasm evaporates. Blank pages are scary in general. Blank pages from Act Two, those are downright terrifying. But if you figure out which events end Act Two—often referred to as the “all is lost” moment—everything else will fall into place. If you do that, you’ll be writing screenplay or novel pages quickly. They’ll be good pages too. Pages which engage, excite, and enthrall.

So, What’s the Key to Plotting the Perfect “All Is Lost” Moment?
It’s simple: craft a sequence which is filled with pain, emotion, and paradox…what I like to call the hero’s “trough of hell.” Combined, these three elements re-engage audiences, right when their interest is about to flag. That’s why it’s so important to get this plot point right. This writing guide will show you exactly what to do.

With This Screenwriting Guide, You’ll Learn:how to use 4 different pain types to inflict maximum damage to your hero (and why you should)3 methods to make the trough of hell more emotionally intense—without altering a single beat of the “all is lost” momenthow a hero seems to be the furthest away from his goal, when you and I both know he’s about to accomplish it in 15 pages (give or take)7 common ways to end Act Two and how to overcome the unique challenges each presentshow to enchant audiences by combining multiple trough typesthe trick Peter Jackson used to increase the emotional weight of THE TWO TOWERSwhy the most effective way to hurt your hero—even in an action movie—doesn’t involve blood, burns, or bruises5 different forms of betrayal you can use to split your heroes aparthow to use setups and payoffs to extricate your hero from dicey situations (like capture and death)the secret sauce to turning allies into foes (think Dr Nichols in THE FUGITIVE)what stuck out the most to Johnny Depp when filming THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL…and why it matters to you, as a screenwriterthe STAR WARS secret which will help you achieve galactic screenwriting dominion5 cliché-free ways to show your hero’s post-trough distresshow to pace your story with panachehow to handle problems specific to thrillers, action movies, comedies, and romantic comedies

Like Examples? Me Too!
I’m a big fan of learning by example. So I use plenty of them to illustrate my points. But sometimes examples just aren’t enough. That’s why I’ve also included 8 detailed case studies which should help you put together all the writing secrets you'll learn from this book.

All blockbuster films, the case studies include BRIDESMAIDS, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, ABOUT A BOY, OCEAN’S 11, and BRAVEHEART.

Never Get Stuck in the Middle of Your Story Ever Again
Conquer Act Two…for good. Write your screenplay with more ease, more speed, and more confidence. Scroll up and buy Trough of Hell today!

*While all the examples come from movies, this writing guide can help authors who are struggling with the middle section of their novels.

Product Details

  • File Size: 705 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: January 20, 2014
  • Sold by:  Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Not Enabled
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Customer Reviews

This book does a great job on getting you brainstorming the ending of your …

7 people found this helpful.
 on March 20, 2015
By J.
This book does a great job on getting you brainstorming the ending of your Act 2. And does a good job of showing you how that will ultimately influence other aspects of your story.

Trough of Hell, Indeed!

 on April 17, 2016
By SparkWizard
I review books often, but I rarely give out a 5. This is by far the best book I have read on creating the middle of a story, be it screenplay or novel. As a writer wannabe, I have 83 books on writing craft most of which I have read two or three or more times. This is the first one that actually explains how to cross that desert of Act 2 and get to the other side with a story that works. Finally, a book that gives the details of how to craft an Act 2 Middle in a way that is easy to understand and even provides worksheets available online to help. Every author or writer wannabe can benefit from reading this book. I will be ordering the next book in the series about Story Climax immediately.

Recommended for All Screenwriters and Creative Writers!

2 people found this helpful.
 on November 1, 2014
By Nicole J Barrett
This book helped me finish my first horror screenplay. I really liked how the author makes it clear that your hero has to go through hell in the 2nd act no matter what the genre. It really hit home what the author said about amateur screenwriters: that we tend to not want to hurt our heroes so we don’t make them go through enough hell in our writings. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who is a screenwriter or creative writer in general.

Five Stars

3 people found this helpful.
 on August 3, 2014
By Kindle Customer
great on how to put your characters through hell

Mystery genius!

3 people found this helpful.
 on February 24, 2015
By J. Kramer
I’ve been writing for several years now, mostly for my own enjoyment and to learn the craft. I’ve read a lot of writing books, gone to a lot of workshops and conferences, hobnobbed with a lot of writers. There are a lot of excellent books on writing out there, so why should you get this one and not another?

This book rocks!

 on June 22, 2016
By Elizabeth
I love H.R. Costa’s books. This one was very helpful. I am new to screenwriting and the book helped me to not only realize I am on the right path with my writing, but helped me come up with all sort of new ideas for my movie. Thanks!

Gotta read it if you are serious about writing.

One person found this helpful.
 on July 9, 2015
By Red Head 918
Realy great info. I got the digital edition, so was able to download instantly. I can read it any time I need a refresher on my Ipad. Very very helpful for anyone who writes or who reads.

Good Insight

 on May 2, 2016
By Pam Pearsall
Very well written. Recieved good information.

Four Stars

 on June 8, 2015
By Jordy Mac
Very smart practical advice for aspirant writers still learning their craft.

Five Stars

 on June 10, 2015
By peter kwon
An instrumental in building my career as a writer

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