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« Epic Thinking »



See your life as an epic story and decide its dramatic unfolding as if you are writing a screenplay. Give it the interesting twists and turns that make for the happiest endings. Be the star of your life. A screenplay is an outline, diagram or map of a story that's told in pictures. As such it has a linear structure - a beginning (Act 1) , a middle (Act 11) and an end (Act 111). It also has a definite theme, a subject, characters and situations. i.e. action, confrontation and resoluton... just like a real life.


Refer to the « Storyboard thinking » exercise in the Toolbox to learn how to visualize scenes in sequential order.

Write the script to your own « movie » and you can turn your life around in dramatic fashion. Start with a big finish. An epic life uses a dramatic structure to hold together the sequences of events that make it up. The structure has a beginning, a middle and an end, while the drama is a way of imaging those elements with a creative purpose. The beginning sets up our life-story's motivations (why we have a particular list of needs to fill). In the middle we encounters conflicts and obstacles to fulfilling our needs and at the end we may find resolution and fulfillment.

Start by storyboarding the sequence of events that will give you the greatest joy. Then work on your "big finish" - do you live happily ever after? Do you find true love... or riches... or glory? You can create an epic story by showing the sequence of events between now and fulfillment, somewhere in Act III of your Epic. A screenplay will devote 25% of its time to Act I (which is calls THE SET UP); 50% of the story's length is Act II (called THE CONFRONTATION) and 25% is devoted to Act III (called THE RESOLUTION)..

Act I introduces the MAIN CHARACTER (you) in terms of CONTENT (the knowledge, experiences and desires that shape your inner persona) and CONTEXT (the situations, resources and motivations from "out there" that impact you).

THE SET-UP tells how the MAIN CHARACTER must fill a need or accomplish a deed to find self-fulfillment or reach a goal. There may be obstacles to overcome and limits to transcend along the way. In the second act - THE CONFRONTATION - the MAIN CHARACTER goes somewhere or does something that clearly and definitely points to a conclusion of that need or deed. In THE RESOLUTION, the need is filled or the deed is accomplished.

The CONTEXT of an epic life-story describes the situations, the secondary characters, plots and sub-plots and events that surround a quest, while its CONTENT defines how the MAIN CHARACTER will react to them. Define those elements as they exist in your own life and then weave them into the kind of ending you want: Is your life a drama, a comedy, a romance, an adventure or.....


Just before the end of ACT I, define Plot Point A which is an event that will spin your story into its definitive quest. Before the end of Act II, define Plot Point B which channels your story into its definitive doing for successful resolution. In the dying moments of Act III, define your Big Finish which should tweak a positive emotion... like hope, forgiveness, love, joy, etc...

If your story is worth a biopic, the rule of thumb is that a page of script equals a minute's movie time... so a standard Screenplay is 90-110 pages. Write your life as if each page was a year's time and plan a great 100'th birthday party...

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