Does this sound okay for an Action driver?

Just wanted to make sure this is an okay Action driver (it’s my Third Story Driver aka midpoint):

  • A bunch of college students think they’re being recruited for jobs at an exclusive country club, but they’re unexpectedly taken up into low earth orbit, then told to skydive without parachutes.
  • They have to choose whether to jump or not. Those who don’t jump, won’t be recruited into the club (which it’s now obvious is a lot more than your average country club).
  • The three major characters argue over whether to jump. Eric tries to hold Jess back from jumping, but pulls her glove off by mistake as she falls. The glove is a crucial part of her anti-grav suit, so Devin and Eric immediately jump to save her.

I think it’s okay because being taken up and told to jump is an Action, which drives the Decision of whether to jump. Then, there’s an unpremeditated Action when Jess’s glove comes off that forces the immediate decision to go after her.

I was a bit worried that there’s some focus on the choice of whether to jump, but I think it’s okay because that Decision is driven by the previous Action.

(I’m pretty sure this is the midpoint in my 2-Act structure because everything changes after this, and you can really see the Bump from Becoming beforehand to Conceptualizing after.)

I really felt like this was going to be a Decision because they are up there deliberating. But all of that deliberating gets them nowhere, and they jump because Jess falls and her glove comes off.

I think the easy litmus test here is this:
• If Jess didn’t fall would she have jumped? I’m guessing no.
• If her glove didn’t come off, would the others have followed? I’m guessing no.

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*oops, cross posted with mwolleager

As presented, this sounds like being given a choice. When you tell it, will ‘being taken up’ be able to look more like a separate thing from being told to jump?

Jess’s mind was made up to jump from the get-go (Faith character) but Eric was trying to stop her. If he hadn’t tried to stop her, she would’ve jumped on her own.

If her glove didn’t come off, Eric would definitely NOT have followed. I’m not sure about Devin – he wanted to jump, but was afraid, until Jess’s glove came off. Then the need to save her overrode everything, even for Eric.

I think you’re right that the deliberation gets them nowhere, because Jess would’ve jumped with or without the deliberation, and Devin & Eric only jumped because of the glove.

There are also some background/minor characters who jump and some who don’t jump, but I realize now that I didn’t show any deliberation at all for them.

Finally, in the next scene there is one other character who jumps after them. He also only jumped because of Jess’s glove coming off, though it turns out he’s too late to help her.

In the story (I’ve drafted this scene already) it’s presented like:

  • hey we’re on our way to the mountains in a bus, cool
  • now we’re boarding a military plane, weird
  • oh my god! the propellers have cut out! but wait we’re still going up – into space!! “Yes recruits, this plane could go to the moon if we wanted”
  • “We’ve now descended to skydiving altitude. Time to jump. Yes I know you don’t have parachutes, you’re wearing antigrav jumpsuits. No, we’re not going to help you figure out how to use them.”

So to me, it feels like an Action driving a Decision – somebody takes you to the edge of a cliff and tells you to jump, or else you can’t be part of their gang.

P.S. for some reason, the dumber I make my story sound, the more I like it! :stuck_out_tongue:

This could be an action driver. The determining factor would be if the decisions they make following the event would not happen if the action did not take place. So long as being chosen (or choosing) to be into the exclusive club is significant to the furtherance of the story and changes its direction significantly, then it would qualify. Out of a larger context it is difficult to be definitive.

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Thanks Chris … definitely the decisions following the event would not have happened without the action. (not just the immediate ones, but all the subsequent ones too) And it does changes the direction of the story in a huge way. Sounds like it qualifies!

How does being take up in the plane change the course of the story? It seems like the decision to jump or not to jump is what changes things.

Right, but that’s what Chris said was needed:

The choice to jump couldn’t have happened without being taken up in the plane (and additionally, wouldn’t have happened without Jess’s glove falling off). So, the whole thing forces that decision which changes the course of the story – jumping gets them into the club, and being in the club is the second half of the story.

“Being taken up in the plane and told to jump” isn’t one of those super-obvious Actions like a meteor strike or car crash. But it’s not driven by any decision in the story. There might have been a decision decades ago that “we always test our recruits’s mettle with an untrained anti-grav jump” but that’s not in this story.

Thanks for probing further Greg, as I had the exact same reservations (hence this thread)! I’m glad I can explain it better now, but please chime in if it still doesn’t seem right.

Not saying it doesn’t seem right. Just trying to better understand.

In an Action driven story, it’s the action that changes things, right?so if being taken up and told to jump is all one action, then I get it. That changes the story and leads to some decision not given above. And I think you mentioned that maybe there wasn’t much deliberation after all, so maybe this is the case.

But if being taken up is an action and deciding to jump is a decision, then I don’t see the action changing anything (not saying it doesn’t, just that I don’t see it) and I do see the decision changing things.

I think the right way to look at it (and I hope Chris or Mike will jump in if I’m off-base) is that, in an Action driven story, you might sometimes see the following Decision as changing the course of the story. However, because the Decision was forced or driven, it couldn’t have existed without that Action, and thus, it’s really the Action that was the root cause of changing the course of the story.

Think of Star Wars – the Empire attacks a consular ship, forcing Princess Leia to choose (decide) to send the plans with a couple of droids (!) onto a desert planet where some old hero might be able to help.

Which changed the course of the story more, the action or the decision? You might argue the decision, because it’s what gets Obi-Wan and esp. Luke (Protagonist) involved. But that’s fine, it doesn’t really matter because the preceding Action forced that decision anyway.

(i.e. there’s no way Leia would’ve chosen to do that without being forced to by the attack.)

The nature of this question is, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” There is no “right” answer, but there is an appropriate answer depending on the author’s intent because the meaning to the story changes. A Chicken-to-Egg story is the story of procreation. The Egg-to-Chicket story is the story of maturation. Both are parts of the cycle, but where you begin has meaning.

In the Star Wars example above, the boarding of the ambassador’s ship forces Leia to decide to get rid of the plans. No boarding, no decision to get rid of the plans. Later, Luke decides to leave Tatooine with Obi-wan because his family has been toasted by the Empire. No BBQ, no leaving Tatooine. In both cases, the ACTION changes the direction of the story and the subsequent decisions that follow.

In the Godfather, Don Corleone decides to NOT get into the business of selling drugs, which is followed immediately by the other Families’ attempt to assassinate him. Michael’s decision to make a move in Las Vegas leads to his subordinates’ decisions to contact the other NYC families. The other Families’ decision to assassinate Micheal at a meeting with Barzini coordinated by Tesslo leads to Michael’s assassination of the heads of the other Families, etc.