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Saturday, July 25, 2009

FAB Treatments - example



As promised yesterday here is an example from my treatment that made me think about the FAB idea.

I first wrote...
Kelly buys a goldfish so she can say she has to look after her pet and therefore can’t go on the trip.

Common sense said to me that while this was accurate it lacked the meaning of the plot point. And was clunky. So I took it to the next level of why that matters. What is the point of the scene?
Kelly spends the next day furiously trying anything to get out of this horrible task. She even buys a goldfish. Now she can say she has to look after her pet and can’t go away.

But this still didn't quite do it for me - which is why I thought of the FAB idea. What is the benefit to the audience of this scene?
Kelly spends the next day furiously trying anything to get her out of the task. She even buys a goldfish. Now she can say she has to look after her pet and can’t go away. Genius! She could be free of the hideous task. But these ridiculous and desperate schemes infuriate the bosses more. She is out of ideas and out of options - and out of her depth. And so, reluctantly, her journey begins.

I wouldn't take this idea even further and say how the audience would feel. Something, for instance, like "we feel sorry for Kelly" just seems a bit to presumptuous.

Now obviously it is important to note that you can't have just the emotions and audience benefits and none of the plot points. E.g. Kelly fears the task but has to go along with it. That would just leave the reader asking 'Yeah, but how do we see that? How do we know that?" etc.

But a good balance feels right to me.

Treatment purists may disagree. But it helps me when I get stuck and think my treatments are a bit dry and not really capturing the true essence of the story. I guess I am hoping that even if the reader disagrees with the goldfish idea they still pick up on the character point that she is totally desperate not to go.

But, as ever, use at your own risk!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like this "FAB" way of thinking about writing treatments, it makes what you've written more involving story-wise rather than just static points on a map. It might even help to work out the value of a plot point - if it has no benefits to the storyline, should it even be there? Great stuff, thanks!
Jelly

Tim Clague said...

What I've found is that you often discover the benefit using it this way. As writers we tend to have a reason for a scene to be there. But then, during rewrites, that benefit gets lost. This method helps bring it back into focus