Trottier’s Magnificent 7 Plot Points

In his book, The Screenwriter’s Bible, Trottier (2014) points out how the “flow of the story” (p. 11) in a film script is governed by particular driving forces within the narrative.  As mentioned in a previous blog, Is there a blueprint to script structure?, the 3-act storyline is driven by the setup of the movie and the characters in Act 1; followed by the “confrontation” (Field 1994, p.9) in Act 2; and then finally, with the “resolution” (Field 1994, p.9) of the story in Act 3.

Trottier (2014) adds that there are particular moments in the storyline, as it moves from act to act, that drives it forward towards its resolution. He calls them “The Magnificent 7 Plot Points” (p.21). These are moments with decisive outcomes, not only for our hero but also for us as the audience. It gives us “an emotional pay-off” (Trottier, 1994, p. 26), as our story moves along these dotted landmarks within the acts. The table below lists David Trottier’s “7 Plot Points” (Trottier, 2014, p.26); and I’ve added where the acts start as outlined in his summary of these crucial moments within the story.

The Magnificent 7 Plot Points (Trottier, 2014, p. 26)
Act 1: SETUP Start of the story
1. The Backstory
2. The Catalyst
Move into Act 2 Middle of the story
3. Big Event
4. The Midpoint
5. The Crisis
Move into Act3 End of the story
6. The Slowdown
7. The Realisation


FIELD, S. (1994) Screenplay: the foundations of screenwriting. Expanded ed. ed. New York: Dell.

TROTTIER, D. (2014) Screenwriter’s Bible: a complete guide to writing, formatting, and selling your script. 6th, expanded & updated. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press.

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