I stumbled upon the above “How to Plot Backwards” tutorial on one of the Facebook screenwriting groups.
I feel like Charlie Brown:
The chart is not necessarily wrong. It’s absolutely true in screenwriting that you have to figure out the ending and work backwards.
But you just can’t follow a to-do list like this and expect to create anything worthwhile. You’ll just end up with screenwriting “Mad Libs.” Or Clue—the Professor did it in the drawing room with the lead pipe.
You have to work from character and have the storytelling emerge organically from truthful human behavior.
I learned the hard way, over many years, that you can’t diagram your way into creating anything worthwhile. It really has to be felt and observed and, in many ways, lived, to ring true and move an audience.