Comprehensive Storyform

The following analysis reveals a comprehensive look at the Storyform for Witness. Unlike most of the analysis found here—which simply lists the unique individual story appreciations—this in-depth study details the actual encoding for each structural item. This also means it has been incorporated into the Dramatica Story Expert application itself as an easily referenced contextual example.

Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Main Character Resolve

Rachel is curious about life outside of her Amish world, and is determined to explore it with the possibility of starting a new life among the English.  She is attracted to John Book, but comes to realize the violent and volatile world he inhabits is not one to make a life for her son and for herself.  Rachel eventually reconciles to the Amish ways, and stays to settle down with Daniel.

Main Character Growth

Rachel needs to fill the gap left by the death of her husband, Jacob.  She needs someone to love—who’ll appreciate her sexuality—and be a father for Samuel.

Main Character Approach

Rachel adapts to the situations she finds herself in: she accepts being detained by Book and taken to his sister’s house:
SAMUEL:  But do we have to stay here?
RACHEL:  No, we do not.  Just for the night.
Rachel accommodates Book’s presence on the farm; she remains in the Amish community, even though she has doubts about her faith; etc.

Main Character Mental Sex

When Amish elders object to harboring Book—because if he dies, the policemen will come, investigate, disrupt, cause publicity, etc.,—Rachel looks at the bigger picture.  She responds that they must make it so that they never find his body, without going into details of how they would accomplish that.

Story Driver

Jacob’s death causes Rachel to visit her sister for advice, placing her and Samuel at the train station; Samuel’s exploring puts him in a position to witness the murder; the killing of the undercover cop causes Book to investigate; Samuel’s identifying McFee puts him in danger; Book’s punching out the redneck exposes him as non-Amish; etc.

Story Limit

Schaeffer and McFee eliminate all who know of their crimes—the undercover cop and Carter—with only Book and Samuel remaining as a threat to them; hunted by his boss Schaeffer, Book has no place to hide except the Amish community; after Book’s fist fighting, Schaeffer narrows down the search to Lapp farms; Book kills off Fergie and McFee, with only Schaeffer left as a threat; surrounded by Amish witnesses, Schaeffer can’t kill them all and has no option but to give himself up, ending the story.

Story Outcome

At story’s end, Samuel the Witness is safe.  Fergie and McFee have been eliminated, and their mastermind Schaeffer is overpowered by force of numbers and taken into police custody.  The Amish have their peaceful, isolated lifestyle intact.

Story Judgment

By staying on the farm, Rachel doesn’t get the man she obviously desires, John Book, and she’s about to be saddled with Daniel—the Lapp family may be buying a horse with only one good ball again.

Overall Story Throughline

""Protecting the Witness""

Overall Story Throughline

The story plays out in the peace-loving Amish community, which is loath to bring in “English” such as John Book, especially when they live by the gun and fist—but the men who shot Book will come after Samuel, so they must help him; As long as the witness Samuel remains alive, the careers and criminal activities of Schaeffer and his men are endangered.

Overall Story Concern

The Amish are concerned with getting Rachel another husband within one year of her husband’s death; The Amish elders are worried about the resulting disruption if Book dies on them; Rachel fears for Samuel’s safety if Book is tracked down; Schaeffer and his men know their lives are over if Samuel lives to testify against them; Daniel wants a future married to Rachel; Book’s out to bring Schaeffer down.

Overall Story Issue

The Amish elders suspend judgment on Book until he’s well again; An uncertain Rachel procrastinates over remarrying into the Amish community; Book puts his libido on hold and misses his chance at fulfillment with Rachel; Book delays dealing with his pursuers by hiding out at the farm and dallying with Rachel; Daniel doesn’t want Book to prolong his stay:
“DANIEL:  Your hole is healed, then?
BOOK:  (gives him a look)  Pretty much.
Daniel nods with satisfaction:
DANIEL:  Good.  Then you can go home.”
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 76)

Overall Story Counterpoint

With Book’s arrival on the scene, Rachel has to choose between him and Daniel as future lovers; Book enjoys the bucolic Amish lifestyle and Rachel’s earthy charms, but feels drawn back to crime-fighting in the big city; Schaeffer and his men have chosen the rewards of crime over the job satisfaction of crime fighting.

Overall Story Thematic Conflict
Delay vs.Choice

Rachel delays choosing a new husband until Book recovers, when he makes his own decision: on the whole, he’d rather be in Philadelphia.  Unwilling to follow him, Rachel’s left with her second choice, Daniel.

Overall Story Problem

The corrupt Deputy Chief Schaeffer and his lethal weapons, McFee and Fergie, are hunting down the witness Samuel and his protector Book.

Overall Story Solution

Book avoids Samuel’s pursuers by hiding out among the Amish community until he’s well enough to do his duty as an investigator of corrupt policemen.

Overall Story Symptom

Rachel speaks out against Book’s violent interrogation methods; Book’s sister Elaine objects to being burdened with his “orphans”; The gunshot Book refuses to go to a doctor; the Amish elders are reluctant to shelter the “English” Book; Book badmouths the healer Stoltzfus’ tea; etc.

Overall Story Response

Samuel supports Book’s efforts to clean up the police force by identifying the murderer; The Amish community supports Book by sheltering him, healing, and bearing witness; The rural Undersheriff endorses Schaeffer’s efforts to find Book but is unable to help; Eli compliments the departing Book:
ELI:  You be careful out among them English!

Overall Story Catalyst

Book’s choosing to confide in his “old friend and mentor” Schaeffer tips off the murderer as to the witness’ identity; Book’s choice of a violent response to the rednecks tips off Schaeffer to his location; Samuel’s decision to stay and help Book by ringing the bell brings the Amish cavalry to the rescue; etc.

Overall Story Inhibitor

Book’s expectation that Schaeffer will come after Rachel enables him to delay capture by “losing” the case file; Schaeffer’s expectation that the Undersheriff can easily locate Rachel by doing “some telephoning” brings his search to a dead end when he’s told the Amish don’t have telephones.

Overall Story Benchmark

Book confides in Schaeffer that he’s made progress by identifying the murderer, and discovers how far he’s really advanced when McFee tries to shoot him; Book makes a call to Carter to see how things are going, and finds that he’s been killed and Schaeffer’s getting closer; Amish neighbors run across the fields and advance toward the Lapp farm to bear witness and prevent Schaeffer’s moving forward with his plan to kill Book and Samuel.

Additional Overall Story Information →
Overall Story Throughline Synopsis

“Witness is the story of John Book, an undercover big city detective; Rachel Lapp, an Amish widow; and Samuel, Rachel’s eight-year-old son.  In the men’s room of the Philadelphia train station Samuel witnesses a murder and John becomes the investigating officer.  John discovers that his boss is involved in the murder, is critically injured by the murderer, and manages to escape into Amish country to return the mother and son to their home.  Rachel nurses John back to health and they fall in love.  John is ultimately discovered by the criminals but, with the help of the Amish, he survives and returns to the city—knowing that his and Rachel’s worlds could never be joined.”
(Mehring, p. 69-70)

Overall Story Backstory

“The backstory, which was worked out in rewriting and then cut, was much more complex than this.  In one draft of the script, we learn a great deal of additional information.  We learn that John’s job on the police force is to investigate police corruption, which makes him unpopular with other police officers.  We learn that he’s a crusader.  We discover that John’s partner, Carter, was supposed to meet Zenovich, but arrived late, thereby he feels as if his irresponsibility might have contributed to the murder.
There was also additional information about the PCP and how it contributed to the murder.  In one of the discussions, who confiscated the PCP, when, and the ways that Paul and McFee and Fergie were involved were all sketched out.  Most of this also was cut in editing.”
(Seger, p. 184-5)

Main Character Throughline

Rachel Lapp — Not-so-merry widow

Main Character Throughline

Rachel has grown up as one of the Amish, where questioning the prevailing cultural and moral values is frowned upon.  Recently widowed, she’s expected to continue in that tradition and remarry soon.  Unsure if that’s what she wants, Rachel visits her sister to get marriage advice, and the outside world presents her with alternative lifestyles and ways of thinking.

Main Character Concern

Rachel is having doubts about remarrying into the Amish and staying in the community, which is why she’s traveling to Baltimore to get her sister’s advice.  Book’s presence in her home shows her a facet of the “English” male that attracts her, and brings out a playfulness in her.  She defies Eli’s warnings, and takes off her Amish bonnet to kiss and hug Book.  (In the screenplay, her transformation is more complete, as she and Book make love in a field at this point in the story.)

Main Character Issue

As Book’s committed to his city life and career, Rachel would have to give up her commitment to the Amish way of life in order to be with him.

Main Character Counterpoint

Rachel feels a responsibility to provide a father and a stable family life for her son Samuel.  She’s not sure Daniel’s the best man for the job, and considers the suitability of Book as a husband.

Main Character Thematic Conflict
Commitment vs.Responsibility

The pull of her commitment to the peaceful Amish life and its positive value system wins over Rachel’s mind, as she settles for the reliable Daniel as being a more suitable father figure for Samuel and abandons her heart’s desire, Book

Main Character Problem

Rachel feels compelled to find another husband; Unhappy with the Amish choices, Rachel’s driven to venture outside and visit her sister, seeking advice on marriage and on remaining in the Amish community; She attempts to emotionally entrap Book by presenting her nakedness to him.

Main Character Solution

Rachel tries to avoid getting another Amish husband by escaping from the Amish community, but the murder interrupts her plans and she’s brought right back; If she could evade the condemning judgment of Eli and the other Amish “shunners,” she might be better able to adjust to the outside world; Book’s decision to steer clear of sexual entanglement with her ends their relationship and gives her a solution—marry Daniel.

Main Character Symptom

Rachel questions her continued belonging to the Amish religion; She refuses to accept Book’s whacking of suspects; She distrusts guns and berates Book for showing his to Samuel; She’s not persuaded by Eli’s judgment of her behavior as being worthy of shunning; She finds it hard to believe other women have uncharitable thoughts about her and Book.

Main Character Response

Rachel’s antipathy to violence comes from her religious faith rather than from any examination of the subject; In a scene not used in the film, Rachel expresses her lack of faith in Book’s law:
BOOK:  You’ll be safe.  You don’t have to worry.
RACHEL:  Oh yes!  Of course!  Why shouldn’t we feel safe in a city where the police are so busy killing each other!
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 37)
Rachel loses faith in non-violence and goes for Book’s gun; She sees the folly of violence when held hostage by Schaeffer, when peace (and her faith) is restored by the non-violent confrontation of the whole community.

Main Character Unique Ability

Rachel believes she knows what’s best for her son Samuel—and that’s John Book.  Against the elders’ wishes, she takes on the responsibility of caring for him until he’s well enough to protect her son again—which he does.

Main Character Critical Flaw

Rachel’s somewhat selfish choice to pursue romance and indulge in her sexual needs with the outsider Book puts her at odds with her entire Amish community: the women threaten to shun her, which would bring shame on the Lapp family and deny Samuel a father.  Ultimately she relents and remains the good mother and future wife to Daniel.

Main Character Benchmark

Rachel and Samuel temporarily act like big city folk, traveling by modern train to Philadelphia; Rachel enjoys fulfilling the role of Book’s dancing partner; She acts sexually bold, making a play at Book by presenting her nakedness to him; Rachel symbolically takes off her bonnet and acts un-Amish, kissing Book passionately; Upon Book’s departure, Rachel acts unconcerned.

Additional Main Character Information →
Main Character Description

“RACHEL LAPP.  A young woman of perhaps twenty-seven.  Her face is pale and drawn.  In happier circumstances, although there haven’t been too many of late in Rachel’s life, we would see a robust, sensual woman of full figure, spirit and intelligence.”
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 2)

Main Character Throughline Synopsis

Questioning her Amish identity, newly-widowed Rachel leaves home to visit her sister in Baltimore for marriage advice.  When her son witnesses a murder, she’s pulled into the investigation and a romance with detective John Book.  He brings out the playful schoolgirl in her, but she’s disappointed when he stops short of sweeping her off her feet and to the big city.  Not assertive enough to ask for what she wants, she’s left behind to await the approaching Daniel.

Main Character Backstory

Rachel’s husband Jacob has died, and she is expected to soon remarry to someone in the Amish community.  Is there anyone with enough fire in the belly for her, or will she settle for a “horse with one good ball,” like Daniel, to whom she explains:
RACHEL:  I need time, Daniel.

Influence Character Throughline

John Book — Internal Affairs detective

Influence Character Throughline

John Book’s a career Internal Affairs cop, policing the police.  Once his witness’ identity is exposed and he’s at risk from the murderers, all Book’s activities pertain to protecting Samuel.

Influence Character Concern

The righteous Book’s job is to catch the bad guys, and to do that he employs whatever means works, violent or non-violent.  Rachel and Samuel realize that his use of violence and weaponry is appropriate and the only way to stop Schaeffer’s thugs and stay alive, which goes against the pacifist way they’ve been raised as Amish.

Influence Character Issue

Elaine has told Rachel about her self-righteous brother Book:
RACHEL:  [...]  you like policing because you think you’re right about everything.  And you’re the only one who can do anything.
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 34)
Book’s eager to solve the murder case, which he sees as his case:
BOOK:  Look, I’m genuinely sorry…
RACHEL:  No you’re not—You’re glad, because now you’ve got a witness.
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 32)
Angered over Carter’s death, Book petulantly takes out his frustration on an unsuspecting redneck by busting his nose.

Influence Character Counterpoint

Policing the police and being hated by his colleagues for it, Book protects society from policemen who’ve “lost the meaning”; Book protects Rachel’s identity by having her case file destroyed by Carter, though that action destroys him, too; Book holds his hormones in check regarding Rachel so as to avoid disrupting the community; He sends Samuel away from the farm, staying to face Schaeffer’s men alone; Book surrenders to Schaeffer in order to save Rachel.

Influence Character Thematic Conflict
Self-Interest vs.Morality

Realizing that he and Rachel will never work as a couple, Book refrains from indulging himself sexually with her so it’ll be easier for her to stay; In the name of justice, he never hesitates to place the safety of his witness Samuel and Rachel above his own.

Influence Character Problem

Once shot, Book’s first instinct is to help Rachel and Samuel by getting them home to safety; The ever-helpful Book instructs Samuel in the correct handling of a gun, to Rachel and Eli’s distress; Book’s going to his mentor Schaeffer for help capturing McFee informs the bad guys of Book’s intentions.

Influence Character Solution

If Book obstructed Samuel’s fascination with the gun, he’d cause less friction with the Amish; If he was less eager to prove himself worthy by pitching in with the barn, Rachel’s dreams of him as a husband wouldn’t be falsely encouraged; His delaying tactics over possible lovemaking with Rachel makes it easier for him to leave her; Book’s getting Carter to lose Rachel’s case files hinders Schaeffer’s pursuit of him.

Influence Character Symptom

Book is outspoken in his lack of respect for Rachel’s Amish lifestyle:
RACHEL:  Enjoying your reading?
BOOK:  Very interesting.  I’m learning a lot about manure.
RACHEL:  Buttons are hochmut.  [...] Vain.  Proud.
BOOK:  Anything against zippers?
RACHEL:  You make fun of me.  Like the tourists.  [...]  They seem to think we are quaint.
BOOK:  Quaint?  Can’t imagine why.
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 63-64)
His inducing her to dance, against her religious beliefs, gets her in trouble with Eli.

Influence Character Response

Book tries to appease Rachel by supporting her gun-control policy:
“He hands her the holstered gun and the loose bullets.
BOOK:  Put it up someplace Samuel can’t get it.
A beat, then Rachel takes the pistol and starts to go.  Book stops her.
BOOK:  Friends?
Rachel glances back at him, smiles and nods.”
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 61)
By not getting involved with Rachel and leaving her, Book endorses her staying on the farm by default, and supports Daniel’s efforts as her suitor.

Influence Character Unique Ability

Rather than indulge his lust with Rachel, Book thinks of the consequences of his intended act, and does the right thing instead of the wild thing:
BOOK:  If we’d made love last night, I’d have to stay.  Or you’d have to leave.

Influence Character Critical Flaw

Book’s sense of commitment to the Amish people he’s bonded with, particularly Samuel and Rachel, make him hesitant about leaving them behind.  In Book’s final scene with Rachel, each looks longingly at each other, but neither can ask the other to commit to a change in lifestyle.

Influence Character Benchmark

In Philadelphia, Book investigates the murder in standard fashion, exposing Samuel and Rachel to lineups, mugshots, and the whacking of the usual suspects; While recovering at the Lapp farm and distracted by Rachel’s charms, Book ignores his goal while milking cows, doing carpentry, barn-raising, and eventually fixing the car; Delaying too long, Book’s goal comes to him in the form of Schaeffer’s men: he leads them through the labyrinth of the barn, dodging cows, climbing ladders, killing the clueless Fergie with kernels in the silo, shooting McFee.

More Influence Character Information →
Influence Character Description

“JOHN BOOK, who comes striding through to be momentarily lost in the crowd of police, reporters and others.  He is about 40, with a rangy, athletic body.”
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 13)

Influence Character Throughline Synopsis

Unpopular Internal Affairs detective John Book takes the case when an undercover narcotics cop is murdered.  Discovering his boss’s involvement, the wounded Book hides out in the Amish community of his witness, Samuel.  Nurtured by the boy’s mother Rachel, he recovers and gains the respect of the Amish.  Though the community rallies round him to help defeat his pursuers, he doesn’t really belong, and relinquishes his love for Rachel to return to the big city.

Influence Character Backstory

In a scene from the screenplay not used in the film, Book’s ex-boss tries to persuade him not to investigate the murder:
DONAHUE:  It’s still not your job.  (pauses)  Look John, why don’t you come back to Homicide where you belong?
BOOK:  Let’s just say it’s a career move.
DONAHUE:  Stick with Internal Affairs and you’re not gonna have—any—friends left.
BOOK:  I’ll buy a dog.
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 31A)

Relationship Story Throughline

""What a Wonderful World This Could Be""

Relationship Story Throughline

John Book believes in fighting fire with fire, using the gun and fist to defeat violent criminals; As an Amish, Rachel is a pacifist, preferring non-violent means to solving problems.  Big city John prefers modern conveniences such as cars with radios over horse-buggies and milking a cow.

Relationship Story Concern

Rachel and Book have trouble reconciling their different natures.  She’s been raised in the rural, peaceful Amish community, while he’s at home in the fast-paced, violent big city.  Sexual and romantic attraction brings them together, but neither can commit to living in the other’s world.

Relationship Story Issue

If things go as Book expects, he’ll leave the Amish to pursue the corrupt city cops as soon as he’s able—which is why he refrains from encouraging hope in Rachel by making love with her.

Relationship Story Counterpoint

Nursing Book back to health and caring for him like a husband, Rachel indulges her far-fetched desire for a powerful man like him to settle down to a peaceful life as Farmer John Book.

Relationship Story Thematic Conflict
Hope vs.Dream

Rachel’s dreams of a future with Book evaporate when she’s unwilling to leave the farm; While Book dallies with Rachel, the city’s violence comes looking for him in the form of Schaeffer’s men—once they’re defeated, he heads back to the big city without Rachel.

Relationship Story Problem

Rachel’s firm belief that the Amish’ peaceful way of problem-solving is right, and that the might of guns and violence is wrong, puts her in direct conflict with shoot-‘em-up and punch-‘em-out John Book.

Relationship Story Solution

In the screenplay, when Book’s outnumbered by Schaeffer’s gunmen, Rachel distrusts pacifism as the answer for the current situation, and sides with violence instead: she tries to load the gun with the intent of using it on Schaeffer.  But Eli’s influence holds her back, leaving Book alone and Rachel not as changed as she’d like to be.

Relationship Story Symptom

Rachel objects to Book’s roughing up of the black murder suspect, Coalmine, in front of Samuel; She gets angry at Book allowing Samuel to handle the handgun, and takes custody of it; Book makes fun of Rachel’s assigning characteristics such as “proud” to jacket buttons; He mocks Daniel’s soft-drink approach to wooing Rachel.

Relationship Story Response

Against the objections of the elders, Rachel supports the idea of Book staying on the farm while he recovers; Book endorses Rachel’s handgun control policy by entrusting her with his revolver; Rachel stays up all night nursing Book while he’s feverish.

Relationship Story Catalyst

Over lunch, when Rachel tells Book what Elaine thinks he needs—
RACHEL:  She thinks you should get married and have children of your own.  [...]  Except she thinks you’re afraid of the responsibility.
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 33)
—she’s revealing her own dreams of the kind of good man she wants, and starts to take an interest in Book as a marriage prospect; Bringing Book the carpenter a glass of lemonade, Rachel gazes at him dreamily as he lustily downs the drink in one swig, and is dancing with him soon after that; Dreaming of him as a partner, Rachel dresses Book in her husband’s clothes to better blend in with the other Amish; Watching Book building the barn for the newlyweds, Rachel’s coy look suggests her aspiration that they’ll be able to return the favor.

Relationship Story Inhibitor

Presented with the opportunity to make love to the naked Rachel, Book puts it off, not wanting to get that committed:
BOOK:  If we’d made love last night, I’d have to stay.  Or you’d have to leave.

Relationship Story Benchmark

Upon being introduced to Book’s violent policing methods, Rachel’s immediate reaction is one of horror:
“RACHEL:  John Book, you listen to me!  I will have no further part in this, nor will my son!  As God stands between us!
Book sighs, starts the engine and moves off.”
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 23)
On the farm, Rachel blows up in response to Book’s showing Samuel his gun, further distancing them; Book’s instinctive response to the Amish dislike of buttons is mockery:
BOOK:  Anything against zippers?
Book’s nostalgic response to an old song on the radio leads him to want to dance, and brings Rachel and him closer together; Rachel’s immediate response to Eli’s threat of shunning is proud defiance, allying her with Book; Book fails to act on his natural impulses when seeing Rachel naked, effectively ending their relationship.

Additional Relationship Story Information →
Relationship Story Throughline Synopsis

Book acts as a surrogate husband to Rachel, protecting her and Samuel from the corrupt police.  Recovering from his gunshot wound under Rachel’s care, Book realizes the effect his violent lifestyle’s having on Samuel.  Rachel takes his gun into her care, giving him her husband’s clothes in return.  Book embraces the peaceful, hard-working Amish way of life—and Rachel—but whenever the outside world intrudes, he reverts to his violent nature.  Recognizing their irreconcilable differences, Book puts on his city clothes and leaves Rachel forever.

Relationship Story Backstory

Rachel’s looking for someone to be a father to her son Samuel, while Book’s sister Elaine has told Rachel:
“RACHEL:  She thinks you should get married and have children of your own.  Instead of trying to be a father to hers.  Except she thinks you’re afraid of the responsibility. 
Book gives her a look:
BOOK:  Oh?  Anything else?
RACHEL:  Oh yes.  She thinks you like policing because you think you’re right about everything.  And you’re the only one who can do anything.  And that when you drink a lot of beer you say things like none of the other police would know a crook from a… um… bag of elbows.”
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 33-34)

Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Overall Story Goal

Everyone in Witness is concerned with getting things in the future back to the way they were before Samuel witnessed the murder: Book wants to protect Samuel from Schaeffer’s men and to stop them from committing any more criminal activities in the future; Rachel, Samuel, and the other Amish want to be rid of the violent Book’s influence and restore their peaceful way of life; Schaeffer and his men are trying to eliminate Samuel and Book so they won’t testify against them at a future date.

Overall Story Consequence

If Book failed to protect Samuel and he was killed, the newfound criminal motivations of Schaeffer and his men could continue unabated and unpunished.  The basic drives of the Amish—isolation, non-violence, goodness—could be irreparably tainted by the murder of one of their own and increased contact with the “English.”  Book, too, might become jaded at the lack of justice and “lose the meaning” of police work forever.

Overall Story Cost

Book gets a hole in his side from McFee; Carter, McFee and Fergie achieve an early death; Schaeffer finds the meaning of police work again with his arrest; Unable to take the initiative with Book, Rachel gets to settle for second banana Daniel; etc.

Overall Story Dividend

Nurtured by Rachel, Book becomes more loving and giving; Eli changes his attitude toward Book, who in his eyes is no longer one of “them English”; Rachel celebrates her sexuality and playfulness, becoming more independent of Eli’s influence.

Overall Story Requirements

Before confronting the killers who threaten Samuel and himself, Book must gradually heal from his gunshot wound and increase his physical strength—and drink increasing amounts of Stoltzfus’ tea.  The sooner he’s well enough to leave, the sooner the Amish will be left in peace.  Schaeffer must step up his search for Book and Samuel if he’s to find and kill them.

Overall Story Prerequisites

In order to let Book stay in their community and recover from his wounds, the Amish elders must restrain their impulse to reject all outsiders; In order to gain their trust, Book has to wean himself off his built-in reliance on the gun; To keep the peace while amongst the Amish, Book has to keep his pugilistic reflexes in check; To find Book and Samuel, Schaeffer must put aside his first choice of tool—modern conveniences such as the telephone, etc.—and utilize older methods such as footwork and word of mouth.

Overall Story Preconditions

To build his strength and prove his worth to the Amish, Eli insists that Book does some hard work, such as milking, carpentry, etc.; To blend in while in hiding, Rachel makes Book wear her husband’s plain clothes instead of a detective’s.

Overall Story Forewarnings

Book manages to act like one of the Amish as long as he stays on the farm.  Once he strays into town, he’s unable to maintain the pretense and meets the redneck’s fire with his own by punching him out, which alerts locals and the police that he’s only pretending to be Amish—just the kind of odd man out Schaeffer’s looking for.

Plot Progression

Dynamic Act Appreciations

Overall Story

Overall Story Signpost 1

The Amish are introduced—a people who seem to live in the past, a time of horses and buggies.  At the funeral of Jacob, Rachel’s husband, the Amish men reflect on what a good farmer he was.

Overall Story Journey 1 from Past to Future

Leaving the quaint world of the Amish behind, Rachel and Samuel fearfully witness the violence of the “English” firsthand.  Samuel sees a murder, and the killer McFee shoots Book in an attempt to prevent Samuel from testifying in the future.

Overall Story Signpost 2

Book drives Samuel and Rachel to their farm to hide them, as he knows Schaeffer will come looking for them soon.  Eli and the Amish are worried about their future if Book stays:
ELI:  What if he dies?  Then the sheriff will come.  They’ll say we broke their laws—
RACHEL:  We’ll pray that he doesn’t die!  But if he does, then we’ll find a way so no one knows!
She’s more concerned with Samuel’s future:
RACHEL:  But I tell you that if he’s found here, the people who did this to him will come for Samuel.
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 48-49)

Overall Story Journey 2 from Future to Progress

Concerned about Samuel’s future, Rachel and the Amish nurture Book back to health.  Making no progress with the rural sheriff, Schaeffer “leans on” Carter and kills him.

Overall Story Signpost 3

Book phones Carter to find out how things are going regarding Schaeffer—whether it’s safe yet to come into the city and confront him—and finds Carter’s dead.  Angered, Book punches out a redneck, alerting the police to his location and advancing Schaeffer’s pursuit.

Overall Story Journey 3 from Progress to Present

Furious at his partner’s death, Book makes preparations to leave Rachel and the Amish, while Schaeffer tracks Book to the farm.  Book outwits Fergie and McFee and with the Amish’ help, Schaeffer, restoring the status quo.

Overall Story Signpost 4

After Schaeffer’s capture, Book evaluates his situation—and returns to the city as Eli and Rachel watch.  As Book leaves, Daniel approaches.  Having given her time, he’s coming to see how he stands with Rachel now.

Main Character

Main Character Signpost 1

Unsure that she can see herself staying in the Amish community and being married to Daniel, Rachel carries out her plan to visit her sister in Baltimore.

Main Character Journey 1 from Conceptualizing to Being

Rachel experiences more of the outside world than she envisioned.  Though she’s shocked by the violence Book represents, for her son’s sake she acts as if comfortable in his sister Elaine’s disorderly house.

Main Character Signpost 2

Rachel takes the side of the violent English-man Book, arguing that he must be allowed to stay among them and act Amish in order to protect Samuel.

Main Character Journey 2 from Being to Becoming

Rachel pretends to enjoy Daniel’s staid dating ceremony on the porch, but it’s Book’s song and dance routine that brings out the playful girl in her.

Main Character Signpost 3

Reacting to Eli’s threat of shunning over her dancing with Book, Rachel becomes defiant of the Amish traditions:
“RACHEL:  I am not a child.
ELI:  (suddenly stern again)  You are acting like one!
RACHEL:  I will be the judge of that.
ELI:  (fierce as a prophet) No!  They will be the judge of that!  And so will I… if you shame me!
RACHEL:  (blinking a tear now, but meeting his gaze)  You shame yourself.
And shaken—but proud and erect—she turns and walks out.”
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 73C)

Main Character Journey 3 from Becoming to Conceiving

Becoming aware of her womanhood and manifesting it more fully, Rachel conceives of Book as the right marriage partner for her.

Main Character Signpost 4

Realizing that Book’s preparing to leave, Rachel comes up with one last plan to snag him—she removes her traditional bonnet and apron with the idea that he’ll see past her Amishness and respond to her as a woman.  She succeeds, but only in getting a kiss.

Influence Character

Influence Character Signpost 1

Book understands how much trouble he and Samuel are in when McFee beats him to the draw in the parking garage, and shoots him.

influence Character Journey 1 from Understanding to Doing

Wounded by betrayal as well as the gunshot wound, Book understands he must cover his tracks with Carter’s help and get the Lapps safely home.

Influence Character Signpost 2

Book starts to endear himself to the Amish by engaging in their day-to-day activities—milking cows, carpentry, etc.

Influence Character Journey 2 from Doing to Obtaining

Book engages in hard work for the sake of it, and relaxes by slow-dancing with the object of his desire, Rachel.

Influence Character Signpost 3

Stripped of all signs of her Amish-ness by the fact that she’s naked, Rachel is Book’s for the taking—but he doesn’t go for it.

Influence Character Journey 3 from Obtaining to Learning

Book gets a surprise when Schaeffer shows up to take his life, and learns he hasn’t lost his own capacity for violence.

Influence Character Signpost 4

Book learns the power of non-violent confrontation from the Amish, whose bearing witness forces Schaeffer to give himself up.

Relationship Story

Relationship Story Signpost 1

Seeing Book demonstrating the handling of a handgun to her son Samuel, the pacifist Rachel’s gut response is to send Samuel out of the room and berate Book:
RACHEL:  John Book, I would appreciate it if, during the time you are here with us, you would have as little to do with Samuel as possible.  [...]  It’s not the gun.  Don’t you understand… It’s you.  What you stand for.  That is not for Samuel.
(Wallace and Kelley, p. 91-92)

Relationship Story Journey 1 from Preconscious to SubconsciousRealizing her snap judgment of Book was premature, Rachel appreciates the family values he demonstrates and thinks of him as a suitor.
Relationship Story Signpost 2

When Book gets the car battery hooked up and hears a favorite song on the radio, his longings for the city and the 20th Century surface—as does the joyous lust for life lurking beneath Rachel’s prim exterior.  They boogie to the English “Myusick” together.

Relationship Story Journey 2 from Subconscious to Conscious

Defying the wrath of Eli, the lusty Rachel offers her body to Book for his consideration.

Relationship Story Signpost 3

When the naked Rachel observes John Book witnessing her sponge bath and turns to offer herself to him, he thinks too hard and too long about what he’d be getting into, and the moment passes.

Relationship Story Journey 3 from Conscious to Memory

Troubled by his decision to reject Rachel’s forward move, Book wants to make his intentions clear for the record.

Relationship Story Signpost 4

Book reminds Rachel about last night, and suggests that it’ll be their only intimate memory.

Plot Progression Visualizations

Dynamic Act Schematics


Dramatica Story Expert

the next chapter in story development

Buy Now