The best thing I can think about as an example of a plot point example is a break-up scene
This is more or less what a plot point is, in the words of Syd Field (in his book Screenplay):
nyincident, episode, or event that hooks into the action and spins it around in another direction”
So, that’s the definition. That’s it, problem solved, now that you have the definition you’ll be able to write anything you want. End of the blog post. Bye.
Wait, wait. Let’s be real, that definition is pretty broad
Example of a plot point – Mean Girls
There are more high school dramas than stars in the sky
More movies about a loser becoming popular than grains of sand in the desert.
More stories about terrible and vain queen bees than drops of water in the ocean
Why is that? Why did this movie became a cult if it’s just another high school drama with a wannabe popular loser who manages to get into the inner circle of the queen bee?
The answer is simple: this movie managed to resonate with many girls around the world and highlight the problematic ways in which most societies view young girls.
Cady’s character arc was a wild ride. Her relationships with her peers keep switching from love to hate, her attitude and worldview change depending on which side she takes. It’s crazy and yet, relatable.
This would be a confusing mess if there weren’t clear plot points to mark the way.
Think about a plot point as a flag you put on the ground whenever you have conquered a new land
Once you arrive and look around, you plant a flag of a different color to remind yourself that this land is different from the one you visited before.
It’s easy to get lost while writing a screenplay, a novel, or a different kind of story
Plot point helps the writer and the reader get a sense of progression and understand where they are. Beginning, Middle, End or anywhere in between.
But before seeing which events in Mean Girls can be considered an example of a plot point, let’s establish some general rules.
A plot point must:
- have a significant impact on the plot
- push a character to make a choice
- Be a “point of no return” (the characters cannot pretend that the event didn’t happen and cannot go back to how things were before)
1. On Wednesdays we wear pink
After hearing from Janis and Damien about Regina and the Plastics, Cady gets invited by Regina to sit at lunch with them. Janis immediately takes advantage of the situation by convincing Cady to spy on Regina and report to her.
This is the first plot point and can also be considered the inciting incident since it’s ultimately what sets the story in motion.
We see that Cady takes her first major decision at this moment: agreeing to spy on the Plastics
Also, from this point on, Cady has entered the inner circle of the Plastics, and she won’t leave it until Regina decides to frame her for the Burn Book.
2. She was such a good… SLUT!
The second plot point sees Regina kissing Aaron in front of Cady.
Before this moment, Cady was simply following whatever plans Regina and Janis had, but now she makes her second important decision.
The heartbreak brings Cady to come up with a plan to ruin Regina’s life, and by doing so she goes from passive protagonist to active protagonist. Now she’s actually motivated and has a clear goal.
At first, it seems that the plans Janis and the others come up with are all doomed to fail, but at the next plot point things will finally start to work out.
3. And none for Gretchen Wieners, bye
Cady and the others manage to succeed with their plans thanks to Gretchen. They keep feeding her fear of becoming distant from Regina until she finally starts revealing all the secrets she knows.
This is the midpoint, and also the part of the movie with a
Everything seems to work out perfectly, until Cady realizes that she is much closer to Regina than to her real friends.
4. And I want my pink shirt back!
The fight with Damien and Janis officially closes Cady’s Plastic phase.
Janise’s rant makes Cady and the audience as well look back and notice just how much things have changed from the beginning
Cady, who was initially hesitant to agree to spy on the plastics, now uses Regina’s tactics against her friend.
“It’s not my fault you’re like in love with me or something”
5. The girls have gone wild
Now it’s the villain’s turn to attack.
Regina finally realizes that Cady has been trying to sabotage her this entire time and respond by trying to frame her for the Burn Book and the uproar in the school.
The “jungle madness” scene is the moment when all the secrets are revealed and all the tension in the movie is released.
It shows that all the manipulation, backstabbing, name-calling that has been going on since the beginning can have terrible consequences. But that’s not everything.
Regina, being really good at manipulating people, had already predicted this outcome and decided to use it to her advantage.
6. And that’s how Regina George died
This scene might be hilarious, but it’s also as deep as it gets.
The bus hitting Regina right when she was about to tell Cady to “shove her apology up her hairy…” is played like a joke, but the event itself shows how shallow the characters have been since the beginning.
Cady realizes that for all this time she and Regina have been fighting each other for foolish reasons.
Both of them have had their lives ruined because of the other, they became the most hated people in the school and they have hurt the people around them.
Now it’s time for them to bury the hatchet and to make amends
7. I love this song! I hate this song! I know this song!
This can be considered the climax of the movie. When Cady makes her speech at the Spring Fling, apologizing to everyone and realizing herself that being one of the Plastics is actually meaningless.
She manages to repair all the relationships she had ruined before: her friends, her parents, her teachers and Aaron. And through a metaphor she states the theme of the movie:
“So, why is everybody stressing over this thing? I mean, it’s just plastic”
Basically trying too hard to meet other people’s expectations will only leave you with a fake sense of accomplishment
Mean Girls offers a great example of a plot point because it uses this tool effectively. Thanks to those little “flags” that mark the end of a sequence and the beginning of another, we can clearly see how much Cady changes and what important lessons she learns.