One Foot in Front of the Other
A good logline is the first step in putting the pieces of your screenplay together. You need to know where each step is going to land in order to fill in the shimmies and shakes in between the hard landings that make your script special. But first you need to know the pattern you’re trying to follow.
A Quick Checklist
Here’s a quick list of the main points in your plot that are essential to know as you build your story into an exciting screenplay:
Main Character: ______________________________
Inciting Incident: _____________________________
Clear Want: _________________________________
Action Choice: _______________________________
The Spine of the Story
The above 7 elements are the vertebrae of your story. They are the bones of your plot that keep your reader’s imagination and interest engaged from start to finish. They are also the bones upon which you hang the “meat and sinew” of your story.
Flushing Out the Spine
When building a story, there’s an exercise I like to do to make ideas concrete and test whether or not they work. Write 4 short, concise paragraphs. Each paragraph represents an act in your story. Try to capture the core points of your plot without getting bogged down in story. Use very simple sentences. No more than two or three sentences for each paragraph. No more than 500 words total.
Who is your MAIN CHARACTER?
Make sure to use an adjective that captures your character’s attitude and point of view.
What is the INCITING INCIDENT?
What event happens to set your story in motion?
What is your main character’s CLEAR WANT?
What does your main character want that drives them through the entire story?