Story Checklists That Work

I always seem to need a little help on keeping track of the events that should take place while I am writing. I visited a screenwriters site and the checklist provided is very helpful. Take a look at Alexandra Sokoloff.

Story Elements checklist

I was teaching this Screenwriting Tricks for Authors class at the Jubilee Jambalaya Writers Conference this past weekend and I compiled a list of all the story structure elementsI’ve been breaking down (okay, I’ve undoubtedly left some out…).I thought I’d post it here, too.It’s a great list to use when you’re brainstorming index cards, because even if you don’t know the exact scenes yet, you can write the elements on cards and stick them into your story structure grid in relative order and feel like you’ve done a whole day’s work. Hah!

No, what I really mean is, when you’re writing out cards for just general story elements, it, you will be shocked at how great scenes suddenly come to you that will fill in huge gaps in your story. If not right that second, then after you sleep on it, or a few days later.

The post on doing index cards is here, and I’ve linked to more in-depth discussions on each individual act, too.



– Opening image
– Meet the hero or heroine
– Hero/ine’s inner and outer desire.
– Hero/ine’s ghost or wound
– Hero/ine’s arc
– Inciting Incident/Call to Adventure
– Meet the antagonist (and/or introduce a mystery, which is what you do when you’re going to keep your antagonist hidden to reveal at the end)
– State the theme/what’s the story about?
– Allies
– Mentor
 (possibly. May not have one or may be revealed later in the story).
– Love interest
– Plant/Reveal (or: Set ups and Payoffs)
– Hope/Fear (and Stakes)
– Time Clock (possibly. May not have one or may be revealed later in the story)
– Sequence One climax
– Central Question
– Act One climax