Until

Half-open door

I was just logging off to go to bed, and I ended up reading this great post by DJ Coffman, about how to create a pitch with a hook. He asked, at the end, if we’d read the comic based on the pitch. I wrote that I might, but that what I found interesting was that the “until” was missing. Now, the weird thing is, I didn’t even realize that I thought like that, until I read DJ’s post, and then I didn’t realize that I even knew about the “until” ..um…until that moment.

What is the Until?

Movies and most fictional stories have a reasonably similar plot projection that goes like this:

Everything was normal UNTIL it wasn’t.

That’s it. That’s the plot nugget. Let me show it to you with the examples I gave to DJ in his comments section (and do go check out his cool project).


Marlin and Nemo lived happily in their reef UNTIL Nemo got lost during a school trip.

Wall-E lived happily in his junkyard, finding old junk to treasure UNTIL Eva showed up.

Bob and Helen Parr lived secretly with their children, UNTIL Bob had to go and have a midlife crisis.


See? It’s the UNTIL that makes the story.

Real Life is Rarely Like Fiction

You see, most of us try very hard to cling to that first half of the plot. Most of us try really hard to keep things the way they’ve always been. But you can’t do that in fiction. The Incredibles would be pretty boring if Bob just worked at his insurance job all day. Wall-E would be interesting for about 8 minutes if all he did was collect garbage. Finding Nemo happens every day inside of fishbowls.

But You Could Embrace the Until

What if getting laid off was your Until? Erik Proulx made an entire movement out of that idea with The Lemonade Movie.

What if a break-up brings you to your until?

What if a change of faith, a sickness, the discovery of a new technology brings you to your until?

You’ll Never Know, Unless…

Most of us ward off our “untils,” but what if you didn’t? What would life be like? How would you see the world, if you were at least open to the possibilities of your until?

What do you think?

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