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ALIEN, AVATAR, coincidence, GROUNDHOG'S DAY, set-up, STAR WARS, structure -

In story development there is a term: gimme. A gimme is a story beat that’s built on a coincidence. There are big gimmes and small gimmes. Typically, a well-constructed story has room for one big gimme. Even then, the big gimme is usually found in the set-up, i.e. the coincidence that either creates the set-up, or gets our protagonist into the set-up. For example, in AVATAR our gimme is that Sully’s brother was fitted for a Na’vi avatar, so he’s the only person who can also inhabit it. In ALIEN our gimme is that Ripley’s ship the Nostromo just-so-happens to...

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