The Diner: Post Two (Concept Development)

In the previous post, I gave the original idea and my plan to share my process. This post, I’m going to start actually working with the idea, deciding what the core of the concept is, what I absolutely need to get right in order to make this story work.

For those of you late to the party, this is the story idea I’m working on:

Person A walks into a diner for lunch. As he’s waiting to be served, person B sits down on the other side of the table. Person B flashes a gun, and says this: “In an hour, I’m going to shoot you in the head. There’s nothing you can do to stop that. Whether I tell you why you’re dying, whether I let you say goodbye to your family, all depends on our conversation between now and then.”

What am I trying to do with this idea?

First, I’m leading with a mystery. Why does the gunman want the main character dead? The answer to this, and how it’s revealed, is going to be the driving force behind the script. Any decisions I make about the script have to keep this mystery in mind.

Here’s the problem: I have no idea what the answer to this mystery is.

Typically, with any mystery plot, you start with the answer and plot backwards. It’s a character mystery, rather than one related to setting. Because of this, I know that I can develop the setting relatively easily, and it’s the characters and the mystery that I will have to develop in tandem.

Second, this is going to be a story focused primarily on two characters in a single setting, over a short amount of time. A “Bottle Movie” in other words. This tells me two things. One: I need these characters to be strong, to feel real and dynamic (which works well with the character-focused nature of our mystery). Two: I need strong dialogue, because it will be the invisible third star of the script.

This tells me where I’m going to spend the most of my time, and what I need to have planned in detail from the very beginning.

My next post will be about the setting (because I think we can get that set in one), and then we’ll start on the characters and mystery.

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