It’s April A-to-Z month! Interested in signing up? Unfortunately it’s too late. I know! But even if it it, check out the 1400+ bloggers signed up and striving to complete this month-long challenge. They need YOU to cheer them on!
NOTE: Changes are happening! I’m no longer filtering these movies through the W-story structure, because it’s too rigid. Instead I’ll be using Jami Gold’s Basic Beat Sheet. BUT if you liked Mary Carroll Moore’s W-story structuring method, you can find info all about it here.
Disclaimer: This is MY version of a plot break down. You might decide I’m entirely wrong and spewing nonsense, and that’s cool. It’s all relative.
Also SPOILER WARNING.
The great thing about movie ‘Y’ (which was my hardest letter to complete, surprise! My bet was X…) is that in French it still fulfills my Y movie goal. ^^ So call it what you want, The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles or Les Yeux Jaunes des Crocodiles but it’s Y either way. (HEADS UP: the film is in French. So if you’re not a subtitle person…)
Chopping it down:
Inciting incident: The opening image is a moment from one the two sisters, our MC Josephine and her big sister, Iris are at the beach. Mom is sunbathing and dad is walking around with a camera in his hands, trying to capture the moment for life. Josephine, unlike her sister, is camera-shy. SKIPPING to the present: Josephine, now in her late 30s-early 40s is a mom of a teen and a tween as well as a scholar/PhD? student of the 12th century medieval Europe. Her cheating husband whose been jobless decides to up and leave with his mistress after their latest fight over her shouldering all the household finances. Sadly Josephine’s old daughter blames her instead of her cheating father. Now Josephine has only had one love and he’s walked out the door. She’s a mess. Iris, on the other hand, is living the life most people (might) want: she’s got a wealthy lawyer husband, a super cute kid, and all the manicures, pedicures and spa treatments she wants at her beck and call.
End of the beginning: But Iris wants more. Something more meaningful. She’s set her sights on writing a story (and this might come from her acting/film background – she graduated from an American film/arts school). Anyways, she wants to be an author. And after blabbing as much to a publisher friend, he’s interested in seeing her book about a 12-century ‘tradeswoman’/female tradesperson. Only Iris DOESN’T have a book. Worse, the idiot signs a preemptive contract for a 30,000 euro advance for the book. Not even a sentence of it. When she asks for Josephine to help her, it’s because she knows that the 12th century is her sister’s area of expertise. Josephine is a push-over. Her sister and their mother (who favors Iris over Josephine) have always teased Josephine about her love for the middle ages. Iris offers her a deal. She knows that Josephine needs the money (Jose learned that her husband ALSO took a huge loan for his new crocodile business in South Africa – something like 30-40,000 euro – out of their bank account; forging her signature) and Iris wants her book. So Josephine accepts, and she sets to work on writing a fictional piece of this so-called 12th century woman.
Pinch point #1: Josephine writes the first half of the book and Iris loves it. But Josephine’s best friend finds out that she’s secretly writing a book, and although part of her deal with Iris was to shut up about the book, Josephine shares it with her friend. The friend loves it. Iris, meanwhile, takes the first half to her interested publisher friend. He LOVES the book so far. Given the green light to write the rest, Josephine is losing inspiration. She’s written tons of essays/papers on Europe’s medieval period, but she has no clue where to take the story next. She’s actually been eyeing this fellow student whose also studying literature and history (in particular saints/hagiographies) and this (hot!) dude starts to be her inspiration for some Fifty Shades of middle age kink. She’s writing so much that she’s completely absorbed in it. She doesn’t even care that her children go off to South Africa to visit their father (and his live-in mistress) and the crocodiles he’s now a proud owner of…with Josephine’s money. Iris is becoming a nuisance hovering around with her boredom. Luckily the book is done and Josephine’s first reader is her friend. The friend loves it and Josephine gives the book to Iris who gives it to her publisher. They love it and the rest is book history.
Midpoint: The book is accepted and the girls’ celebrate – fast forward a few months or year to the book’s release. It’s an overnight bestseller. Iris is acting up the part of the modest author rising to fame. Why not? In three months the book sells 150000 copies and in 5 months it’s like 300000 (what a dream!) and people are clamoring for book 2.
Pinch point #2: Josephine thought she would be okay with the paycheck, and she is…but she loved writing the book that it doesn’t feel right of Iris walking around jumping at interviews and acting like a paparazzi addict. Iris’ attention craze is also stressing her already fragile relationship with her husband. Her husband, a sweet guy, doesn’t understand how Iris can ignore him and their son – the son is always running to show his mom (that’s Iris) his awesome grades in school or share stories from soccer practice, but she doesn’t care for anything but her new-found fame. Meanwhile Josephine’s crush on the dude who studies saints (or something) becomes a full-fledged relationship and he figures out that the book is written by her (she adds details that she took from their conversations). He encourages her to write her own book, and Josephine thinks on it. Also somewhere in Africa, Josephine’s ex has had bad luck with his crocodiles…and he’s just drinking away while his mistress watches on. It isn’t long before Josephine learns that he’s dead (he committed suicide by yellow-eyed crocodiles).
Crisis: Josephine goes to talk to her sister about this but she catches her with a long line of customers waiting to get their books autographed and photos snapped with the ‘author’ of the sleeper-hit. Josephine has a panic attack amidst the crowd and she recalls that memory in the Opening Image/Inciting incident of the family trip to the beach. What she blocked out was the bad (understatement!) part of that day when she and Iris as children almost drowned. Their mother saved her favorite daughter and left Josephine. It was Josephine’s late father who jumped into the ocean and swam out to save her. He died 30 years ago, but he’d always been Josephine’s number one supporter and the reason she lived to write Iris’ book.
Climax: When Iris approaches Josephine about book 2, Josephine refuses. She won’t be a ghostwriter anymore. Iris decides to trick her eldest niece, Josephine’s bratty teen daughter to try to coax her mom into helping her with book 2. But for the first time in her life Josephine stands her ground. Iris invites the niece to help with ANOTHER photo shoot… (Yeesh! she makes the author life look glamorous) and Iris is totally sloshed and she ends up making out with some teenage acquaintance of her niece’s (the son of Josephine’s best friend). The picture is published in a magazine and blown out in ads on the street (i.e. bus stops, billboards, etc.). When Iris’ husband sees it he asks for his divorce and he’s moving to London where he’ll live with his son for the time being. Iris doesn’t stop him really…or fight for her son. Josephine’s daughters and Iris’ son find out that Josephine wrote the book. The eldest daughter, the snooty one who thinks her dad was in the right of the divorce, goes to the media and outs her aunt Iris as a fraud who stole from her mother. With the breaking of the news Iris is all emo and stuff and she isn’t taking calls when she sees the news.
Resolution: The ending image is of Josephine trying to call and reach Iris and leaving a message. Josephine then spends the rest of the night staring up at the starry sky, just like she used to with her late father. She hugs her daughter after she comes in from her brush with the media. Josephine is happy that she’s been giving a clean slate to write and do her… Also she’s probably secretly happy that her (rude) sister got her just-desserts. I should add that the crazy-arse mother of hers also got what she deserved, now she’s broke from her failed business and she’s been slapped with a divorce from the husband she’s been nagging for 30 years (having married right after her first husband, Josephine and Iris’ dad died) and that husband went off with his pregnant mistress.