by Jonathan 0 Comments


I’m working through the first draft of the novel I’m currently calling Black Lily, evaluating each scene to see if it makes sense, to see if it plays all the roles it needs to play.

For each scene I’m using this list of questions to help me sort through things:

Who are the characters involved?

When and Where does the scene happen?

What does each character want and how does that affect what other people want?

What inner or outer conflict takes place?

What is the source of tension between protagonist and antagonist?

What happens as a result of this conflict?

Why does this event need to happen?

  1. Does the scene reveal crucial information about the characters or the plot?
  2. Does something meaningful happen?
  3. Does it propel the plot forward?
  4. Does the action challenge your central characters?
  5. Does it include conflict and resting tension?
  6. Does it carry consequences that determine what comes next?

Structural items that need to be changed or included:

This process gives me the time and space to identify needs and flaws much better than diving into revisions from page one. It’s helping me see things on three levels – world building, character and story.

As I dig in on the scene level, it gives rise to questions and needs on the macro level as well. For that, I’m just keeping a running list and will prioritize that once I’m completely done with the process.

It may not be the final word on process but for me it provides a framework for evaluation and to move my project forward in a meaningful and effective way.

I hope some of you may find this useful

Now, back to it.

Credit to Rachel Aaron for a new perspective on the overall process and Susan Reynolds for the specific list above (from Sept. 2016 Writer’s Digest article Fire Up Your Editing Brain).

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