Book Trailer Arc Components

The Building Blocks in Step 2, form the basis of the components possible in a book trailer. No trailer would use all, as it would be far too long. A trailer arc is a technique to list the components used in the trailer and the flow through them. It is useful after a script is written to see what aspects of the book were covered in the tailer. Book trailer arc components include:

  1. Setting – Time and place where the story takes place.
  2. Ordinary World – The norms and rules of the world. If the story is set in a dystopia, fantasy or paranormal world, then the reader needs to be educated in what a typical day is like. These trailers often spend significant time establishing the norms.
  3. Characters – Protagonist: (hero or main character) and antagonist: (villain or nemesis). Usually the trailer focuses on the protagonist, with any other characters there simply to showcase the main character in more depth.
  4. Crisis – Act One Crisis/Inciting Incident – The event that forces the protagonist to action.
  5. Motivation – Why the protagonist is taking on the challenge.
  6. Challenge – The challenge that the protagonist accepts.
  7. Obstacles – What obstacles stand in the way of overcoming the challenge?
  8. Goal – (objective). What is driving the protagonist and the story?
  9. Praise – Reviews and testimonials. 
  10. Stakes – What happens if the goal is not met?
  11. Deadline – When do the stakes happen?
  12. Genre/Theme – Genre or theme of the book.
  13. Directive – A directive usually comes at the end of a trailer and has the information on how to purchase the book. Depending on how widely known the book is, the directive can range from just the title and author to complete details on how to purchase.

A trailer almost always ends in the directive. This calls the viewer to action, as well as signals the trailer is done. If you are inclined to have trailer credits, do so after the directive. That way, your message has been delivered if the viewer bails.