A man with a rare medical condition has to decide between embracing his final months alive or undertaking an experimental procedure that could extend his life or end it. For #meetup
I have a question. What is his motivation to stay alive? Life itself is not normally enough. That is why isolation is a punishment. People need a reason to live. Friends, family, a missed opportunity. Tell what he is risking other than a few months. Make me care about his decision. Good skeleton, I want to see some meat.
Seems the story begins AFTER the man decides…
Here’s my try,
After deciding to forego a risky life-extending medical procedure, a lonely gambler discovers his soulmate and must choose between spending his last months with her or ending it abruptly if the procedure fails.
Title: Dealer’s Choice
As Frugal Writer noted the story would seem not to be about deciding to (eventually) decide by the 3rd Act. Rather, the story is about what happens after he decides by the end of Act 1. The inciting incident brings him to a cross roads of two very different paths for the plot. Which path the character will take — must take — will determine the subsequent plot.
But since I have no idea what path the character is to take, I am at a loss to formulate a revised logline that incorporates the author’s intention.
Is the MC aware of the rare medical condition prior to the story beginning?
If so the inciting incident would be the doctor giving him the choice to undertake the experimental procedure. His decision whether to undertake the procedure or not will be most of the action in act 2.
Or is the discovery of the rare medical condition in the story?
If so then the inciting incident would be him being told of his condition. His search for a cure would be most of the action the MC takes in act 2
Personally I find that decision making makes for poor action in a plot and action taken with out facing a decision with a good dilemma not compelling. Good plots force characters to make decisions (as McKee specifies under pressure) but this is to facilitate them taking action as a result not as a substitute for it.
Either way I think best to ask what would the MC have done with his life before the inciting incident then give him a choice to make and force him to take an action that is completely different to what he would have done otherwise.
Hope this helps.
>>Good plots force characters to make decisions (as McKee specifies under pressure)
Important point. The plot is a conspiracy against the protagonist. Time is always an invisible foe. The character doesn’t have the luxury of being able to leisurely ponder the issue, google for all the facts, methodically weigh all the pros and cons. The plot and time co-conspire to force the protagonist to make choices, to act NOW.
I’m not sure if you have already written your screenplay, but if not, you could try something like this?
Example: A widowed medical doctor, captivated by a terminally-ill patient, proposes an unproven experimental procedure, which could immediately end her life or buy them time to fall in love.