Greetings --

I am very excited to announce that Write Brothers has released the Michael Hauge Story Structure Template for Movie Magic Screenwriter 6. The template allows you to get my principles, techniques and advice for plot structure, character development, character arc, love stories and theme as you are writing your screenplay. Best of all, it's a free download for all current Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 users, and will be included in the program in all future editions.

To give you a better idea of the kind of information and guidance it contains, this article on the key elements of Stage II of your story or screenplay is taken directly from the template.

For a complete video demonstration of how the template works click here. If you're already a MM Screenwriter 6 user and would like to download the template, click here. And to purchase Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 (including the free template) at a special discounted price, click here.

(From the Michael Hauge Story Structure Template for Movie Magic Screenwriter 6)

Stage II of a properly structured story begins at the 10% mark of a screenplay, where the hero is led into the New Situation that starts to move the story forward. If you're unfamiliar with my approach to structure, please click here for an article outlining the Six Stages and Five Key Turning Points. Or for a detailed explanation, including the Six Stages' relationship to character arc and theme, get the DVD or CD of The Hero's 2 Journeys.

Turning Point #1 - OPPORTUNITY - 10%
At the 10% point in your screenplay (page 10-12), you must present your hero with an OPPORTUNITY: something must happen to your hero which has never happened before, which creates a desire or need to move to Stage II: a NEW SITUATION.

Stage II – New Situation
For the next 15% of the script, your hero must find herself somewhere she has never been. Often this new situation involves an actual change of location. The hero’s primary goal in Stage II is to acquire information, figure out what’s going on, and/or get acclimated to her new surroundings. The key elements of the NEW SITUATION are:

The hero’s ESSENCE is what he has the potential to become – the inner truth that will emerge as he finds the emotional courage necessary to pursue his goal. In Stage II, the hero should get a glimpse of what living in his essence might look like. (When Shrek first tells the fairy tale creatures that he is going to get Lord Farquaad to send them back home, they all cheer – and for the first time he sees what being connected to others might mean.)

A character’s INNER CONFLICT is simply the tug-of-war between living in one’s identity (safe but unfulfilled) and living in one’s essence (transformed and fulfilled, but emotionally terrified). In Stage II, the hero still lives fully in his Identity, but has glimpsed his essence, and we understand the choice the hero must confront once he begins to pursue his ultimate goal.

If your Hero’s Nemesis was not introduced during the Prologue, he should be introduced here in Stage II.

The Reflection is the hero’s sidekick, mentor, partner or spouse – the character who is aligned with the hero, and who helps the hero achieve the Outer Motivation — the visible goal that defines the story concept, which the hero will begin pursuing at the start of Act II. (Donkey in Shrek; Gust Avrakotos in Charlie Wilson’s War; Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid).

THE ROMANCE CHARACTER (love interest) will be the object of the hero’s sexual or romantic pursuit (not just a friend, and not a significant other with whom the hero is already romantically involved). It is almost always most effective to introduce the Romance in Stage II rather than in the Setup, so that the Romance is not already part of the hero’s everyday life when your story begins. The audience wants to see any love story from the beginning – to experience every step of your hero falling in love. Avoid “love at first sight” introductions. There can be an immediate spark (which might mean immediate conflict) between the Hero and Romance, but the relationship must grow into a love affair – one based on more that just physical attraction, fate, or the writer’s desire to get these two people together.

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