[Plot] The Two-Face Structure of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight

It’s been a while since I’ve done a good ol’ fashioned story deconstruction here on the blog, and what better story to do it with than The Dark Knight, which has not one, but two sequences of the 8 C’s?

I’ve been asked a couple of times about how the 8 C’s of Plotting would work in a tragedy setting, and The Dark Knight is one example of how the 8 C’s can work for both tragic and heroic storylines.

If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight, you might want to do so before you read on, because here be major spoilers.

First let’s do a quick Review of the 8 C’s:

  1. Captivation—what gets the audience interested in the character or predicament the character is in. Followed by the “Opening” sequence.
  2. Change—the inciting incident that sparks the story engine. Followed by the “Reaction” sequence.
  3. Complication—Whatever forces the MC to change plans. Could be a relocation; antagonistic meddling in the MC’s life; or a bad decision, mistake, or accident. Most powerful when it grows out of the REACTION. Followed by the “Preparation & Problems / Allies & Abilities” sequence.*
  4. Confrontation—the first confrontation between the protagonist and whichever antagonist or idea they will be facing off against in the Final Exam. Followed by the “Elation” sequence.
  5. Collapse—the near-fatal blow to the protagonist. Followed by the “Gloom” sequence.
  6. Comprehension—the Awakening, either figuratively or physically. When all hope seems to be lost, the Hero learns new information, regains consciousness, or gets help from someone or -thing. Followed by the “Action” sequence.
  7. Curveball—a surprise twist or unexpected obstacle. You know, a curveball. Followed by the “Final Exam” sequence.*
  8. Culmination—the climactic moment. Either the hero wins, or the hero dies (figuratively or literally). Followed by the “Resolution” sequence.

*Harvey’s Tragic story follow these same C’s, with two alterations.

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