Based on a True Story: the Origin of a Plot

Everyone has ideas for a screenplay. The hard part is coming up with interesting ideas that will grab people’s attention. One simple technique for doing this is to look at the latest news headlines. Anything in the news is interesting or else they wouldn’t publish it. That alone means that a true story can be the basis for a work of fiction.

A South Korean movie called “Miracle in Cell No. 7” was inspired by the true story of a mentally impaired man who was wrongly imprisoned for the rape and murder of a 9-year old girl.

So the screenwriters of “Miracle in Cell No. 7” simply took that idea and created an entire fiction on what happened to that mentally impaired man. In the movie, the mentally impaired man goes to prison while his daughter is sent to an orphanage. The big conflict is that the mentally impaired man misses his daughter and she misses him.

So to get back together again, the mentally impaired man happens to save the life of a gang leader. To return the favor, the gang leader agrees to help smuggle his daughter into prison so he can visit her. Unfortunately the prisoners are unable to sneak the daughter back out again so she’s discovered.

Then the mentally impaired man saves the life of a warden during a fire at the prison. Now to return the favor, the warden allows the little girl to visit the mentally impaired man in prison after school every day.

While this is obviously a fabricated story, it all started with the true story of a mentally impaired man who was wrongly accused of raping and killing a 9-year old girl. The screenwriters simply used this true story as a starting point for a fictional screenplay.

So browse through your favorite news sites and look for interesting and compelling true stories. Then extrapolate to imagine the events before and after the true story. By using your imagination based on a true story, you may find it’s easier than ever to create a new story from scratch.

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