Most stories rely on a crutch by showing different scenes that take place in multiple locations. However, there’s a group of stories that don’t do this. Such stories force the characters to stay in the same scene/location over and over again. These type of stories are known as time loop stories.
The basic idea behind a time loop story is that the hero has to repeat a single day endlessly. That means the writer must get creative in telling the story because the location and characters largely stay the same. This forces the writer not to rely on constantly changing locations but to creatively tell a story.
The most popular and well known time loop story is “Groundhog Day,” where a man is forced to relive Groundhog Day until he learns to become a better person. However, there have been a variety of time loop stories and they are all creative in the way they tell a story.
In “Happy Death Day,” a girl has to relive a day where she gets murdered. Now her goal is to find out who keeps killing her and how to stop it.
In “Palm Springs,” a boy is trapped in a time loop and accidentally traps a girl in the same time loop. Now the two of them have to work together to break out of the time loop. A similar story is “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things,” where two teenagers are trapped in a time loop and need to figure out how to get out.
What makes time loop stories fascinating is the way the writer is forced to deal with the same scenes over and over again. That means instead of relying in new visuals from a new location, the writer must tell a compelling story with logic and structure behind the reason why the same scene must be seen over and over again.
To avoid repetition in a repetitive location, the writer needs to create a compelling story that underlies the entire movie. This shows that once you understand the reason for why things happen and what the main characters need to learn, you’ll be able to tell a compelling and intriguing story in a screenplay.
In “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things,” the story highlights the problems of death. If someone close to you is dying, do you really want to let that moment go? Until you can let someone go, then you can’t move on with your life, which is a perfect metaphor for “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” and why the main characters are trapped in a time loop.
Study time loop movies and you’ll see the importance of having a strong story structure as a foundation that the rest of your story can build on. The stronger your story structure, the easier it will be to write the rest of your story.