Need & Revelations

Screenwriting teacher Chris Soth, in his Million Dollar Screenwriting podcasts, discusses how the hero, as a direct result of understanding his inner need is able to either-

a) achieve his outward goal

or

b) discern that his original goal isn’t important after all.

Either way the character arc is complete.

John Truby splits ‘need’ into 2 categories: ‘psychological’ and ‘moral’.

Let’s break this down:

A psychological need is something the hero must achieve in order to stop causing harm to himself.

A moral need is something he must achieve in order to stop causing harm to others.

Truby says the best stories have both.

In order to realize these needs, for the subconscious to become conscious, the hero must have a revelation, either psychological, moral, or both.

However, it’s not always as simple as that.

In some stories the hero may be incapable of a revelation. For example, in The Godfather, Truby explains, the writers give the revelation to Kay, Michael Corleone’s wife (read Anatomy of Story for the full analysis.)

Truby explains how a hero should take new moral action to prove the change has taken place.

What about your hero? What is his psychological and moral need? Is he capable of having a revelation? Is he capable of change?

If so, what action does he take to prove it?

What do you think?

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