Am I correct that you are NOT saying the 6 Essential Plot Points should be applied in the order you've listed and discussed them?

John Friedlander asked: I want to make sure I'm connecting some dots in a sensible way here...

First, it seems sensible to approach the six essential plot points in the order you've chosen, mostly because the Ask, Acceptance and Answer all work together to form the Core Question, which seems to be the most absolutely essential elements of the Hero's Journey a la Campbell. Also, a shorthand interpretation might be Ask=Act 1/Beginning, Acceptance=Act 2/Midcodle, Answer=Act 3/End.
But am I correct that you are NOT saying the six plot points should be applied in the order you've listed and discussed them? After all, the Hook seems to belong right at the beginning of Act 1, Hurdle(s) in the middle, and the Jab at the end. It almost seems like there are three pairs of plot points which want to hang together as the story proceeds: Ask/Hook, Acceptance/Hurdle(s) and finally Answer/Jab. Is that about right?

Hey John,

In more formal film language we would look at the Ask as the inciting incident within Act 1, the Acceptance would be the 1st act turning point (which serves as the transition into Act 2), and then the Answer would be the 2nd act turning point (serving as the transition into Act 3).

We certainly recommend starting with your conflict and the Core Question as the main plot points. Once you have those as your foundation, you can develop the Hook into the Core Question, the Jab out of it, and the Hurdles in the middle.

I see how you're organizing the plot points but I tend to think about them more from a functionally and logistical standpoint. In other words, where do i have to start, and what is the role of each. In that way, I see three sets of plot points.

  1. The Core Question–The Ask, Acceptance, and Answer. This is the essential starting place that really defines your story's structure.
  2. The Hook–this intro needs to get me from the opening until the Core Question. It really stands alone in it's function and developing it for your story. The Hook really needs to come after the Core Question to have a strong connection and not simple be sizzle.
  3. The Hurdle(s) and Jab–these both play off the Answer which is why I'm grouping them together. The Hurdle will increase the impact of the Answer, and the Jab is what extends out of the Answer and is what we're left with.

In the end, it's all a rather fluid web. Your understanding of the Core Question and starting there is the critical part. If you tackle them in pairs from there and it works for you then that's awesome.