When her agent drops her, a shy ‘love story’ author attends a horror movie workshop where screenwriters are kept prisoner by a perverse guru who makes them die like their characters, so that only the best writer will survive.
This strait away grabbed my attention I think the premise has potential.
This could work i a similar way to Stranger Than Fiction but needs a clear distinction from the basic dramatic mechanism at its core.
The inciting incident may need some clearing up as her joining the group is less a significant and radical event. Perhaps after her publisher threatened to drop her or her publishing deal is put in danger, point is something drastic needs to happen to push her to do something.
Other wise you can use the first death of a writer in the group as an inciting incident.
Also the goal needs clarity, do they need to write the best book to survive? Do they need to fight a super natural power with their writing somehow? Do they need to satisfy a psychotic publisher that entrapped them?
Hope this helps.
“When her agent threats to drop her unless she takes a new turn in her career, a shy ‘love story’ author attends a horror movie workshop where a perverse guru makes the aspiring screenwriters die like their characters, so that only the best writer will survive.”
Why not make the guru the main character, the screenwriting guru from hell since he’s the more interesting character anyway and is going to steal the limelight? The “love story” author could be one of several authors attending the workshop out of desperation.
And her agent shouldn’t threaten to drop her; he has dropped her. Which ups the stakes, makes her career predicament more perilous, her motivation more urgent. And the other participants have similar horror stories of rejection, frustration and failure. They’re all there because they are desperate, at the end of their tether. The stakes are that they all see the class as their last chance, their only hope.
I imagine the guru as a charming evil figure, besides he is supposed to be an opponent, like Jigsaw in Saw- I don’t think he can be a hero.
I see this movie as a version of “ten little indians” where the “guests/indians” in the house would be screenwriters who are killed one by one. The rules of the workshop are: each writer must write a death scene where the setting is the house, and another writer plays the victim. In the death scene, they can use only things that can be found in the house (there will be many potential weapons available). The guru will assure that the best scene becomes real.