Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Draft Checklist


Larry Brooks posted recently a check list of essential story elements that an author should have defined after completing his or her first draft.

I revised them to check my romance WIP, now that words are flowing more easily again, and got a boost of confidence. I checked off every point.

1. What the protagonist wants, what she needs, and why for both.
2. What strong external antagonism or antagonist blocks the protagonist's path.
3. If all sub-plot threads are resolved by the end.
4. The first plot twist, aka the turning point that sets the protagonist on his or her story quest. (Story quest is defined by the story's core dramatic question.)
5. A strong dramatic story arc.
6. The main character's story arc that shows emotional growth and ultimate change.
7. A strong midpoint that energizes the second half of the story.  No sagging middle.

A story needs these to be elements. You might not get all down pat in the first draft, but IMO, no one can finish a good final draft without them.

3 comments:

Renee Miller said...


Ana, what a great list! I'm going to print it. Thanks.

Emily Allen said...

Ana, this is a great list, thanks for sharing.

Ana Morgan said...

You are very welcome!