Cut-to Technique for Blood

Posted on January 25, 2012 by jack

This technique is an example of how the writer can work out the full scene sequence for a novel based on a couple of treatments–either the Three Act Structure or the Mythic Journey Sequence. This sequence is based on the Three Act Structure.

Cut To Sequence for Blood©2011 Jack Remick
1. The story starts in a laundromat on Third Avenue in a City that might be San Francisco, but it’s not important, where Mitch gets arrested when he steals a tubful of white women’s underwear. Hooks to Apartment Scene with cops.
2. Cut to: Mitch’s apartment. The objects are the underwear as varied as a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogue, but all white. The action is the tossing of Mitch’s apartment by the police. The hook is to the courtroom scene.
3. Cut to: The courtroom where the Judge sentences Mitch to five years because, he says, every woman has a right to the privacy of her undies. Mitch doesn’t fight the sentence. The object is the handcuffs ( opens the manacle plot track) on Mitch’s wrists as the guard hauls him away. The hook is to the prison cell.
4. Cut to: Mitch’s prison cell where he sees René Grosjean for the first time. The objects are René’s hair, his arms, and the metal objects in the cell—bunk, sink, head. The hook is to the measuring scene.
5. Cut to: Mitch recounting how he’s measured the cell. It is 15 by 9. The objects are the bunk, the head, the semen scratches and smears on the walls. The hook is to René’s possessing Mitch.
6. Cut to: The cell at night. René seduces Mitch who lets him because René is the first man who ever made Mitch feel little. The hook is to Mitch’s discovery of the Camus novel. Hook is to killing René.
7. Cut to: The library where Mitch finds a thumbed copy of L’Etranger in French. The words are marked up, circled, almost illegible so Mitch has to guess at the meaning. He doesn’t tell René about the Stranger. Opens the book plot track with the archeology of writing. The hook is to Mitch’s decision to write his own story.
8. Cut to: Mitch at night writing on toilet paper with a red marking pen that bleeds through the tissue turning it into a blood-like mess that frees Mitch’s memory. We get his first recollection of detail. The objects are tissue, pen. Second phase of the archeology of writing plot track. The hook is to Mitch’s inner story.
9. Cut to: Mitch writing about an attack with Suki on a band of guerrillas in Guatemala on the Rio Verde. This scene opens the Rio Verde-Jungle plot track. Objects are the knives, severed ears, blood, the river. The severed ears are on the death-for-money plot track and index Carl Fairweather, CEO in charge of death.
The hook is to Mitch’s discovery of René fucking a young inmate.
10. Cut to: Mitch’s discovers René fucking a new young inmate. Mitch is devastated. Opens the Outer Killing plot track that ends with Squeaky.
           11. Cut to: Mitch confronting René. René tells him he fucks who he wants when he wants. Mitch is jealous? The hook is to Mitch’s decision to kill René.
           12. Cut to: Mitch stealing a fan blade from a washing machine in the laundry room. The objects are the fan, the blade, the stone floor. The hook is to the shaping of the blade into a shank—steel on stone.
13. Cut to: Mitch grinding down the blade to make a shank then grinding down the shaft to make a handle then coating the handle with twine and then stiffening the twine with his own semen that he catches in a bottle cap. Objects are the blade, twine, stone, semen. The hook is to René’s death.
14. Cut to: The laundry room. Mitch offers René a chance to apologize but René laughs and repeats his motto—I fuck who I want when I want. Mitch stabs René in the heart with his handmade shank. The hook is to Mitch’s visit to the Governor.
15. Cut to: Mitch in his cell, alone, gets called to the Governor’s office. In the office, Mitch’s afraid he’ll be tried for René’s murder and is on the verge of confessing, but the Governor instead tells him he will be the Gov’s man in the yard. Keep the inmates in line. The twist is that Mitch wants to refuse, but the Governor shows him a photo of the dead René. Mitch agrees to be the enforcer. The Governor also shows him the shank. The hook is to the yard where Mitch is gardening.
16. Cut to: Mitch tending a bed of flowers as he watches two cons in a beef. He cracks heads, cools tempers. They straighten up. Word is that Mitchell in C Block is the man to avoid. The hook is to Mitch’s discovery of Notre Dame des fleurs.
17. Cut to: The library where Mitch, looking for info on flowers finds a book on English roses and stuck high up on the shelf with that volume he finds a copy of Genet’s Notre Dame des fleurs and a copy of 120 Days of Sodom Like L’Etranger these have been marked and dog eared so that Mitch can’t read them straight, but has to guess at their meaning. The plot track is the archeology of writing. The objects are the copy of Notre Dame des fleurs and 120 Days.  The hook is to Mitch’s own failing manuscript because the paper is bad and as he writes, he loses all memory of the events he records. The plot track is History as Narrative as Memory loss.
The End of Act One
Begins Act Two
          18. Cut to: Mitch gets a new cellmate. Squeaky is a car thief doing five years for grand theft auto. Mitch sees him as an object, a tool like an old t-shirt to wipe his cock on after he jerks off. When Squeaky gets raped in a storeroom, Mitch rescues him. Hook is to the back story scene called “Cain.
          19. Cut to: Mitch writing his inner story. As he kills a squad of Indians in the Altiplano of Peru. He finishes, he feels his mind go blank but here he has the words, even if they are bleeding and illegible.  Hook is to the new cellmate.
20. Cut to: Mitch is 10, in Oak View School for Boys in the shower where three hooligans force him to suck cock, but Cain, a senior rescues Mitch. Objects are photographs of Mitch’s sisters. Hook is to Squeaky and Mitch in the library. Mitch uses Squeaky. He wants to educate him. We get a glimpse of Mitch’s education level here. He can read French, he knows Darwin. Sets out a reading course for Squeaky.
21. Cut to: Mitch in the Governor’s office asking for a typewriter. Plot track is the archeology of writing as Mitch moves from tissue to black ink to typewriter. Object is his report to the Governor on the state of things. Mitch reports that he saved Squeaky, had to take out the two inmates. Bothers Mitch being a snitch, but the Governor has the photo and the shank. Hook is to first Visitor. Hook is to Mitch’s request to take Squeaky with him when he leaves—Plot track on Squeaky’s death.
22. Cut to: Mitch in his cell gets a call to the visitor’s room. It’s one A. M. In the room, Mitch meets Carl Fairweather, his brother-in-law. Open the release plot track. Object is Carl’s shriveled arm that Mitch broke. Hook is to the backstory on Geraldine.
23. Cut to; Mitch as a kid watching CF and Geraldine having sex in the Corvette. Objects are CF’s Captain bars and Geraldine’s white panties. Hooks to Mrs. Wilson and the spy hole and the Sycamore tree. Plot track of spying, and hooks to backstory on Julianne, the banker’s daughter and her white panties in the tree house. Hook is to Geraldine’s first visit.
24. Cut to: Mitch writing his inner story. CF’s visit opens wounds. Reminds Mitch why he bowed out of being a gun for hire. Scene is a butchery of insurgents on the Rio Verde. Objects are knives, severed ears, guns, Suki’s scars from his knife fights on the Callao docks. Hook is to Mitch taking Squeaky for the first time.
25. Cut to: Mitch having sex with Squeaky who has come back from the infirmary. Objects are the semen soaked T shirt on the knife plot track with images of René floating. Hooks to Mitch’s furious writing of his inner story. The manuscript grows.
26. Cut to: Geraldine in the visitor’s room. She wears blue. Mitch needs to know why. She reports that Catharin has returned, has a letter from her for Mitch. Objects are Geraldine’s note pad that she writes on. Plot track is her wound to the throat when CF beat her up linking to Mitch’s near-killing of CF in revenge. Objects are Catharin’s letter. Hook is to Mitch reading Catharin’s letter.
27. Cut to: Mitch in cell with Catharin’s letter in a blue envelope. Catharin writes that she’s been cut out of the church after she was gang-raped in New Delhi. Pregnant, she’s living with Geraldine, but CF is using her like a whore. Objects are the letter. Hook is to Catharin’s story in Mitch’s story as she runs away to be a whore in the City.
28. Cut to: Mitch opens the sex plot track with Mrs. Wilson fucking Dad while Mr. Wilson spies. Thread is the development of Mitch’s fetishes that end with him in prison. Objects are his dad’s twelve inch cock, the sycamore tree, the spy hole, Mrs. Wilson’s breasts, Dad’s tweed jacket, the cars Dad uses. Hook is to Mitch sharing Catharin’s letter with Squeaky.
29. Cut to: the library where Mitch is learning to type. He memorizes C’s letter. Types it in. Then finds that he can’t recall without looking at the pages. He knows he’s fading like a cleansing of desire. Something’s happening to his inner development. Objects are the typewriter, the letter. Plot track is on Squeaky’s education. Squeaky asks for a photograph of Geraldine. Plot track is the photograph track from Cain to Gov’s picture of René to Geraldine. Hook is to Martin the new Guard and his infatuation with the sister. Plot track is pimping the sister.
30. Cut to: Martin the new guard entering the cell block. He’s young, pure, clean, a breeder. Mitch knows he’ll have to kill him. Opens the death of CF plot track as Mitch pimps his sister. Hook is to Geraldine’s second visit.
30 A. Mitch asks for a computer.
31. Cut to: Mitch holding Squeaky after sex. Feels protective. Wants to save him the way Cain saved Mitch, but Mitch tells Squeaky he’ll have to kill him. Squeaky says Okay, just don’t leave me alone in the yard. Opens killing Squeaky that hooks to final scenes of liberation as Mitch cuts all his ties to world. Objects are the semen soaked t-shirt that links to René’s murder, C’s letter. Hook is to Squeaky learning to read Darwin. Education plot track.
32. Cut to Geraldine in visitor’s room. She wears red. Mitch asks for a photograph. Objects are the pad and pen and Geraldine’s scars. She tells Mitch CF is running for Senate. Plot track is the CEO as mass murderer and open’s Mitch’s door to his history of killing. Geraldine begs him to do something. Hook is to Gov calling Mitch to ask how he got such powerful friends.
33. Cut to: Mitch reading Catharin’s letter. She’s had her baby. Plot track is the killer gene. Opens Mitch’s inner story to the time Geraldine murdered her first baby. Plot track is the archeology of writing as Mitch tries to make out the truth that fades as he writes it down. Objects are the pad and pen. Hook is to Mitch and Governor as he asks for a computer.
34. Cut to: CF in visitor’s room asking Mitch to take early release. Mitch refuses. Objects are photos of killings. Mitch has done. How’d you get that? Plot track is the recording of death. Second node after the Governor uses Photo of dead René to subdue Mitch’s rebellion. Hook is to Mitch’s seduction of Martin using Geraldine’s photograph.
35. Cut to: Mitch and Governor bartering for a computer. Plot track is archeology of writing as Mitch moves from ink to typewriter to computer. Plot track is the disappearance of memory. Mitch figures that if he can write faster he won’t lose as much.  Hook is to Mitch’s encounter with the woman in his past life who has elephantiasis.
36. Cut to: Inner story as Mitch writes about Colombia and his first encounter with a woman who has a dying monkey chained to her neck. Plot track is First Killing as Mitch writes about the Murder in Toulouse and his questioning by the Surete. Objects are the machines of writing and the imperfect perfection of the computer print out that looks so neat and clean but is as full of holes as the tissue manuscript part. Hook is to Mitch getting Martin to kill CF.
37. Cut to: Squeaky and Mitch in the library as Mitch reads death and blood scenes from his story. Squeaky hates it. Plot track is on Notre Dame des fleurs and 120 Days of Sodom as Mitch explains to Squeaky the importance of prison and how he has to stay out of the river of blood. Squeaky refuses to read the manuscript. Objects are Mitch’s 4000 page manuscript. Hook is to Martin’s return.
37A: Geraldine’s visit. She wears black gloves. Mitch introduces her to Martin. Says he’s in love with her. Sets up CF’s murder when Martin goes after him.
37 B. Mitch uses Geraldine’s picture to seduce Martin. This sets up CF’s killing. Plot track is the photograph and seduction of the innocent.
38. Cut to: Martin in ecstasy as he recounts killing CF with a razor garrote. Did you have sex with Geraldine? Martin says he didn’t need it. Plot track is the Killer Gene. Objects are the photo of Geraldine in her red dress. Hook is to King Replacement plot track as Fat Man takes CF’s place as CEO in charge of death and corruption.
End Act Two
Begin Act Three
39. Cut to: Mitch in the library hacking out pages of his inner story. Objects are the growing manuscript. Hook is to next meeting with the governor.
40. Cut to: Mitch in the visitor’s room with Geraldine. She’s ecstatic now that Carl Fairweather is dead. She asks if  Mitch sent the killer. Objects are Geraldine’s note pad and pen. Plot track is the death of the CEO as messenger of death. Hook is to last moment before Mitch is released.
41. Cut to: Mitch in Governor’s office where Gov reads an official looking document. Objects are the paper with the seal. Plot track is early release. Mitch doesn’t want to go. He asks if he can take Squeaky with him. Gov says have other plans for Squeaky. His future is charted out. Hook is to Squeaky’s death scene.
42. Cut to: Mitch in the library finishing his manuscript. Plot track is the archeology of writing. Objects are computer, mss. Squeaky listens to Mitch’s inner story.
43. (Note: This is cut into the end for later placement. After Mitch and Fat Man.)Cut to: Mitch’s inner story as he writes out the last scene of his manuscript. It is the Purgative Scene. Plot track is the Emptying out of memory as writing grows. Objects are knives, guns, severed ears and Suki’s disembowelment by a machete. This is a turning point in Mitch’s awareness and he sees that’s when he decided to quit being a gun for hire. Plot track is Squeaky’s death. Hook is to Danny’s suicide in D Block.
44. Cut to: Mitch egging Danny to kill himself. Do it, Mitch says, you’ll be happy. Danny bashes his head in. Objects are the canvas bag. Plot track is the disappearance of the dead. Hook is to Mitch strangling Squeaky.
45. Cut to: Cell with Squeaky and Mitch as Mitch explains why he has to kill Squeaky to save him from the pain. Plot track is to Mitch’s inner story where Cain saves him from rape at Oak View School for Boys. Hook is to the early release. Mitch in Doc’s office carrying Squeaky. (Have to work this some more. Can’t find the text for Mitch telling him why he has to kill him. Maybe fuse 45 and 46)
46. Cut to: Mitch strangling Squeaky with his bare hands. Mitch calls the guard. Tells him Squeaky has a terminal illness, don’t get too close. Plot track is death of the loved one. Death in love is different from death in business. To die is to die, but as always with the dead, the issue is with the living. Hook is to the farewell scene with Geraldine.
47. Cut to: Doc’s office and Squeaky dead. Doc calls the Governor who hustles Mitch out of there. Object is the corpse of Squeaky and Mitch’s farewell to him.
48. Cut to: Mitch and Geraldine as he explains that he’s getting out and can’t ever see her again. Geraldine tells him she’s moving to Colorado, wants him to live with her. Plot track is Death in Life as Mitch cuts away his connections on his road to apotheosis as the god of death. Objects are Geraldine’s note pad and pen and her bright yellow dress. Mitch sees her as a flower. Hook is to the Limo Scene with Fat Man.
48 A. The Judgment Scene Again.
49. Cut to: Mitch in the library placing his Patron Saint of Blood on the shelf next to Notre Dame des Fleurs and De Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom. The Stranger is not included here. Mitch leaves his book behind for someone else to find. Plot track is the continuing archeology of writing and the deciphering of the code of the past. The hook is to the final judge scene (full cycle now as final judgment closes the opening) when Judge reads Mitch’s dossier. Mitch confesses that he killed René, the two men who raped Squeaky, and hired Martin to kill CF, and that he also strangled Squeaky. The judge says there’s nothing in his dossier about any of that so he’s out of there. Plot track is to CEO as corruptor and purveyor of death. Plot track is on the manacles and freedom. Objects are the cuffs, the dossier, the paper releasing Mitch. Hook is to his last walk out of the steel and concrete cage.
50. Cut to: Mitch dresses in street clothes. Objects are blue blazer, gray slacks, white shirt, black shoes and socks, red tie. He changes one uniform for another. Plot track is Messenger of Death as Tanist and Lackey of CEO who needs an army of killers. Hook is the release back into the river of blood and the maelstrom of slaughter.
51. Cut to: Mitch walking out of the cage. The light goes from dim to yellow to white to daylight as he rises out of the bowels of the cage. Objects are the doors—three of them—the lights—wire cages change to sconces that change to neon light that change to white light and white walls and then to the sunlight of freedom. Plot track is on the paradox of light and death as Mitch steps into the river of blood. He sees the river rising up, washing over everything, sweeping up everything, it is an Apocalypse and he is the Bringer of Death. Hook is to the limo scene and the Fat Man. Plot track is Re-entry of the killer into the River of Blood.
52. Cut to: Mitch in the Limo. Across from him he sees a fat, well-fed man in a dark blue suit, red tie, black shoes, black socks. The General to Mitch’s foot soldier. Mitch is revulsed. In the Man’s Fat, he sees Death, the skull, the sacks of ears, the bleeding river. Fat Man explains what he wants from Mitch and where he wants him to be. This is what Mitch didn’t want, but he’s made his decision. He’s lost in the openness. Plot track is Killer back in the river of blood, but he’s changed.
53. Cut to: Mitch tears out the Fat Man’s throat. He then kills the driver. Objects are the Fat Man’s cell phone, the Driver’s Beretta. Plot track is on the Big Hits. Mitch gets the names and addresses of the Fat Man’s Contacts. They are in Alphabetical Order—the Order of Extinction. Mitch stows the dead driver in the back seat with Fat Man. Plot track is the hearse of death, the boatman ferrying the dead across the river of blood. As Mitch drives, he sees the river of blood and he’s driving the limo like a boat across it. Hook is to an implied scene where Mitch executes the First Name in the Fat Man’s address book. Plot track is CEO as killer now killed. Links to past and CF’s hiring of Mitch. Mitch takes the ears of the Fat Man and his driver. Starts a new collection but instead of dried ears it will be cell phones.
54. The novel ends with Mitch in the driver’s seat heading North on the Coast Highway. He is the Angel of Death.
This is a story about a man who steals women’s underwear so he’ll get caught and lifted out of the river of blood. It is a story about a man who uses his time in prison to write his story but then leaves it behind along with the other indecipherable books he finds in the prison library.
It is a story about a man who sees that there is no excuse for the human race but also sees that he’s been killing the wrong people. It’s a story about blood and semen and the inevitable destruction of the race. It’s a story about a man who is so pessimistic and misanthropic that he wants to see the human race eradicated. It is a story about a man who has the killer gene. It is a story about a man who kills because he’s told to kill until his eyes open and he understands that he’s a tool in the hands of his bosses. It’s a story about the evolution of writing from scratchings on stone to semen smears on concrete to writing on tissue paper to writing with pen and ink to writing on the typewriter to writing on the computer. It is a story about how memory is lost when the writing is done. It is a story about losing the past when we try to capture it. It is a story about a man who at last sees truth and makes a decision to go back into the river of blood. It is a story about love and death and blood. It is a story about a man who achieves sainthood but his god is the god of chaos and annihilation.
Addition to Story About:
          This is a story about Henry Emmett Mitchell who goes to prison for stealing a tubful of women’s underwear. He doesn’t challenge the sentence of five years because he wants out of the river of blood. Mitchell is a mercenary who has severed his employment with the Corona Corporation that is headed by his brother in law, Carl Fairweather. Mitch was hired to calm any disturbances caused by Corona’s plans. Corona has holdings all over the world so Mitch’s arena is vast. Mitch’s inner story is told when he discovers Camus’ novel The Stranger in the prison library along with Genet’s Notre Dame des fleurs and the 120 Days of Sodom. Released by his captivity and inspired by these stories, Mitch tries to write his own history but he can’t get any writing materials. Mitch’s cell mate is Rene Grosjean, a Canadian from Montreal in prison for extortion and blackmail. Mitch falls in love with this man, his first and unexpected submission, and this begins the outer story of Mitch’s progression from hired gun to God of Revenge as he sees, in writing, that as a mercenary he was killing the wrong people. When Mitch kills René, he has to make a decision.

1 Comment

  1. Frank
    June 21, 2021 @ 2:50 am

    Great stuff. The cut-to model can put the novelist on the fast-track to getting the work done. When mapped on a larger framework of myth, place, archetypes, personae, hooks, secrets, etc., it can yield greater structural insights to writing the scenes. Remick’s view is is no images, no action = no scenes; no scenes = no story. No story—then why in the hell are you trying to write a novel in the first place?


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