Are your key scenes in order?

Use the Worksheet to Ensure Your Key Scenes are There and in Order

The worksheet sets out—in order—the key scenes that appear in most commercial stories—novels or screenplays. In the middle column, descriptions and examples are provided. The details of your own story go in the far-right column. If a particular scene-type is missing from your manuscript, key in: none.

Like mile-marker signs along I-75, key scene types appear at predictable points. The structure that develops isn’t a formula or a must-follow plan. Rather, it’s the result of extensive study by many story-smart people, who have documented how good commercially successful stories work.

Use the Worksheet to Plan Your Story

Relying on your ideas and what you’ve already decided about your story, fill in the parts you know. From there, brainstorm to discover possible scenes that would link up the scenes you know. Just key these in; don’t carve them in authorial stone. In future passes through the story world, you’ll raise the stakes, deepen connections and conflicts among character and maybe even devise more interesting settings.

The worksheet is just a tool to prevent writer-stuck-in-the-mud syndrome. You can even use the worksheet to develop several different plots that deliver on your premise—a way to try the plot on quickly and see which one you like best.

Note: This is not the only way to write a story.
It’s a tool to be used—or not—as you plan or revise. It’s simply one tool many writers have found helpful.

Use the Worksheet to Revise Your Draft

The Novel Analysis Worksheet is one of the tools AuthorSpark editors use during a Power-Up Edit. During the second read of a novel [the first read is just for enjoying the story], we describe each scene where it appears in the structure. And we note the pieces that are missing. For example, if a novel dives right into the action of the whole-story story question, next to HOOK and BRIDGING CONFLICT we’d key in: none.

Authors can use the worksheet this way, too. After a draft is complete, describe your key scenes where they fall in the structure. With the manuscript in the standard format, carefully note the page number/percentage where the scene mile markers fall. This will help you finetune pacing and add development where it’s needed.

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