A much more useful list than the numerous structural paradigms pitched to new writers. A script can fulfill all the plot points and still not satisfy any of these 10 guidelines. The end result is a well-organized but uninvolving story.

A side note about arcs:
Protagonists can arc but fail in the external quest (Tin Cup, Flight).
Protagonists can fail to arc / integrate but succeed in the external quest (Nightcrawler, The Player, Godfather 2, A Clockwork Orange, Citizen Kane, most Bond films).
Protagonists can fail to arc and not succeed in the external quest (Barry Lyndon, The Conversation, The Trial, Kiss Me Deadly, The Killing).

But most protagonists who fail to arc were depicted either as not disunified in the first place (Bond films), or as so strongly committed to disunity that they never had the potential to change (Alex in Clockwork Orange only changes because he’s forced to by behavior modification, and that change doesn’t last).

What’s rare is a protagonist who wants to change but doesn’t (can’t think of one off the top of my head).

These non-arcs / negative arcs can work if they’re part of the theme and are integrated into the entire storyline. But they’re a tricky gambit for an inexperienced writer — and with a non-arcing protagonist, the other 9 criteria become even more important.

Music: Discovering the lost and forgotten. Politics: Exposing injustice. Screenwriting: Emotional storytelling.

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