How to Write an Escape Story | Julia Gousseva | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Three-Act Plot Structure

    • 3. What is Escape Plot?

    • 4. Escape Plot: Act One

    • 5. Escape Plot: Act Two

    • 6. Escape Plot: Act Three

    • 7. Escape Plot: Final Thoughts

    • 8. Conclusion

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About This Class

Do you want to write a story that engages the readers and keeps them turning pages of your book late into the night? Do you have a story inside you but not sure how to express it on paper? 

Focus on Plot class series will help you understand the most successful plot patterns, analyze their structure, and apply these plots to your own stories. As a result, your fiction will be more compelling and engaging.

Classes in this series include the following (more coming soon):

Write a Quest Story

Write an Escape Story

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Julia Gousseva

Writer, Creative Writing Teacher


Julia Gousseva

Writer, Creative Writing Teacher

How to Write an Original Short Story

Have you always wanted to write fiction but don’t know where to start? Have you started writing but got stuck and don’t know how to finish? Do you have ideas but find it hard to develop them into a complete story that makes sense? Or do you experience writer's block, get stuck, and lose motivation?

If you have experienced any of these problems or if you simply want a clear and specific way to develop your idea into a story, you’re in the right place.
This course will present an approach to writing stories that I have developed over a number of years and refined with my students in face-to-face classes.

This approach is a step... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello. Welcome to the introductory video. My name is Dr Junior Cassava. Creative writing is my hobby, my passion and my full time job. I write the variety of stories, Children's books, mysteries and thrillers set in Russia and Russian historical fiction. My shoulder pieces have been published in the highlights for Children magazine, the Sun magazine and a few other publications. I've been teaching college level writing courses since 1993 and I'm excited the chairman knowledge with you. In the next two minutes, I will tell you what the scores contains and how it will make you a better writer. This class will teach you how to write an escape story. You will use the three act structure to construct an escape plot and write an exciting escape story of your own to help you. With this project, we will use three famous examples. One is Midnight Express. That's a fill. The 2nd 1 is a short story about Henry called The Ransom of the Chief, and the last one is a short story by Ambrose Beers called an Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge . Thank you for watching introductory video click the button to take the course and start learning. By the way, 2. Three-Act Plot Structure: I know you're excited to start, and you would like to start writing your story. But before we do that, let's talk about the basic structure of applaud that applies to any story, and that's called the three act blood structure. So what is the three act blood structure? Act one? It's also called a set up. It has two purposes. One is exposition, which means you're going to be introduced in your characters in your locations and think about it as a status quo. This is how life is or has been before something happened, and that something will be the inciting incident. Something happens to change that status quo, and it poses the main dramatic question. And if it doesn't quite make sense right now, just hang in there. We'll get to all the details in the next few slides. Act two. It's also called the confrontation. It's your character attempts to solve the problem or to answer the dramatic question, and you don't want that part to be too easy. You don't want the character to solve everything on the first attempt. That's not interesting to your readers. We want to see some struggle, some resistance so your character should fail and then try again to solve the problem and the last part, this extra your resolution. And it's the answer to that main dramatic question. And usually it involves the change in the character. Or it could be the refusal to change, which is also an interesting outcome. All right, so now that you understand the three act plot structure in general, let's get into the specifics off today's plot. 3. What is Escape Plot?: all right, So what is an escape plot? And that's really what it sounds like. It's a story where, where the protagonist is confined against his or her will and wants to escape. The important part about this story is that protagonists needs to be able to free him or herself. Don't have somebody else come into the story and just rescue this person. They need to be planning their own escape actively. One more thing to think about is the moral question. Is this an issue off unjust imprisonment? And is that why your readers air going to root for the character? Or maybe there that doesn't matter, may be what you want to portray is just a battle of wills. You have two personalities, the capture or the jailer and your character who's trying to escape. And then the whole story will be who is going toe win? Which personality is going to prevail? It's up to you 4. Escape Plot: Act One: Now that we have discussed what an escape story is, let's take a look at Act one off each of our three stories. The goal of Act One in any escape plot is to show that the protagonist is imprisoned and makes an attempt to escape. In Midnight Express, Billy Hamza Scott, trying to smuggle hashish out of turkey in the ransom of the chief salmon bill, kidnapped the son of a wealthy man and take him to a cave. And in an occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, the character is standing on a bridge with his arms tied behind his back and a noose around his neck. So all of these three main characters are imprisoned in different ways in Act one. So now let's take a look at what else happens in these stories in the second part of Act one in Midnight Express, Billy Hayes. At first he please authorities. He wants to be released, and he tells him where he got the hashish. But nobody is listening to him. He's sentenced to four years. He is resigned to spending that time in jail, but then his sentence get changed to 30 years, and at that point you can imagine he makes a decision to escape. That's his only chance. That his only way out in the ransomware achieved the kidnappers. Expect the father to pay a ransom so that the kid gets released. And here the kid is really not trying to escape. And remember, this is a story about Henry, so it's going to have some interesting turns and twists in an occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, the prisoners at the top of the bridge and he accidentally falls into the water. Some tips. Funny, right? Act one is that escape is literal. We're not trying to escape a difficult life, right or not. Trying t to escape a drug addiction that's a literal physical escape from a place here is confined and wants to escape right? The same idea. The hero is the victim in Act one, and initial attempts to escape can happen. Enact one, but they will fail. Of course, they have to fail. Otherwise, your story ends too quickly. 5. Escape Plot: Act Two: Now we're going to discuss what happens in the second act, often escape story, and we're going to start with the talking about reader expectations. What do they want to see happen in Act two? Generally act to should have the imprisonment itself and plants that the prisoner makes to escape. And the main question that's asked here is will the protagonist escape? And that's the question that, of course, will be answered in Act three INEC to the story. Direction becomes clear, and we'll talk about this in a minute as we look at our three examples. Generally, readers prefer triumph off good over evil. But it doesn't mean that all escape stories have a happy ending, and we'll see what happens in our three examples very soon. So in Midnight Express again, like in any escape story and active of the goal is to show imprisonment and to show plans for escape. Readers, of course, of course, want Billy Hayes to escape. And the question is, how will he do it? Of what this possible under these very difficult circumstances and the story is much more complicated, but I'm not going to tell the whole story right here. But his ah main idea seems to be that their tunnels under the prison and he can go into the these tunnels and escape toe through those tunnels. And it's not easy. And there lots of complications. As he embarks on his plan. The rants off the Red chief again, he's supposed to making plans for escape, but this is a Hendry, so it's a little bit different if a kid is a troublemaker and he drives his captors crazy and they realized they don't want this kid anymore, they want to get rid of him. So there's a twist on that second act Leaders expect, of course, the father to pay the ransom. Do you suspect that twist the authors of Henry? Just another little reminder. So we'll see. What happens in our last example is an occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, so we know that the prisoner wants to return home and readers want the miracle to save him . It doesn't look like hesitation is very hopeful, were positive, So all we can hope for is a miracle. The story unfold in minutes, and that's interesting. It's very different from the previous two stories, especially different from midnight Express that takes place over the course of five years. This is minutes in Act two. The author explains the crime. We know he's a prisoner, but we didn't know before what happened. So he explains it in that back to some tips for Act two is, ah, reminders that here needs to make some plans for escape. And these plans fail at first and the hero tries again. It's not always 100% applicable, like you can see that in the last example we're looking at. The prisoner is not really making at Al Creek Bridge. He's not making any plans. There's no way he can escape right. He's just dreaming of escape, so that's a little bit different, but still can count as a plan for our purposes. 6. Escape Plot: Act Three: the most exciting part of any escape story is probably Act three. It's the most active part, and it shows the escape itself. So let's take a look at our three stories and see what happens in each one of them in Midnight Express. Billy Hayes, like he was thinking about. He tries to escape through the tunnels, but that doesn't work. His girlfriend brings him some money, and they're hoping that this money is going to help you escape. What does he do? The money. He tries to bribe an official, and he fails. And then there's a dramatic scene When the guard attacks him, Vilified is back and accidentally kills the guard and then gives him an opportunity to escape. He puts on the guard's uniform and walks out of prison. All right, so that escape is successful in The Rance off the Red chief again. It's supposed to be the escape itself, but the kid is not very interested in escaping, and the AC two starts with the fact that the father refuses to pay the kidnappers and the kid just drives them crazy. They don't want to keep you anymore. They want to get rid of him. So there's a twist. And then the father asked the kidnappers to pay him to take the kid back, and they agree. But the kid is not happy. The kid was happy with the kidnappers because the dad is actually stricter than the kidnappers. And in the currents that Al Creek Bridge again, the last act is supposed to be the escape itself. So what do you think happens here? After his fall into the water, he tries to free his hands so he could. He can't swim. But the soldiers opened fire and the current takes him away. And the next scene, he walks home to his wife. So the miracle we were hoping for Do you think it happened? And this is the last line of this story. Take a minute to read that sentence. Probably That's what we expected, right? We were hoping for a miracle as a reader, but we knew that under the circumstances it was not possible for him to survive. So all of this was just his fantasy. But then we can think about it. Well, maybe he did escape. Maybe he did escape in his mind. I know the beginning. I said that the escape plot is a physical escape, but it's not the law, right? You can decide how you want to create your story, and in this case of that escape could be seen as a mental escape that worked out. But the physical did not. And I think the plot of the story works because of this last sentence. Otherwise, it would be just a fantasy that didn't work out. In some tips for AC three, his focus should be on the escape itself. X three needs a lot of action, and the there's a change from Acts one and two x three. The antagonist has control over the hero, and the hero is the victim. In acts one and back to and then enact Tree, the hero gains control. 7. Escape Plot: Final Thoughts: well, you've learned a lot about escape plots and their structure, so I only have a few more final thoughts to share with you. As you start writing your own escape story, you need to keep the reader off balance to keep things unpredictable. Keep changing the terms of the escape. Nothing should go as planned. Right things should go wrong all the time. And that's what makes reading and writing escape story such great fun and the wonderful escape from every day life. I hope you find these tips helpful. 8. Conclusion: Thank you for watching this class. I really hope you enjoyed it. And get some new ideas for your writing project. If you have any comments, please leave them down below. And I will definitely read them and respond to you and trying to help you in any way. I hope you like the class. And I look forward to seeing you in some of my other writing classes here on skill share. If you have a few minutes, please leave a thumbs up for you. And maybe if you weren't so other people can find this glass. Thanks for watching.