Screenwriting Tricks for Authors

Plot your script or novel FAST – with Index Cards!

Now that you have your Index Cards, let’s get them up on a Story Structure Grid!

If you haven’t brainstormed on Index Cards yet, that’s your first step:

For the second part of the method, you’ll need: A cork board, whiteboard, wall, or a sheet of cardboard, big enough to lay out your Index Cards in four vertical columns of about 10-15 cards each.

Whatever board (or repurposed Amazon box!) you choose, you’re going to create a structure grid that looks like this:


A trifold board (like kids use for science projects) is a perfect size, it’s freestanding, and is already divided for you; you can get them for five or six dollars at any office supply store.


Personally I like something big enough to use Index Cards on because cards are so durable and I can spread them out on the floor for me to crawl around and for the cat to walk over; it somehow feels less like work that way.



But you can also use Post-Its,and the truly OCD among us use colored Post-itsor cardsto identify various subplots by color. Everyone has their own method; experiment and find what works best for you.



Continue reading:

Read more on the Index Card Method and Story Structure Grid in Chapter 6 of Stealing Hollywood and Writing Love. Find Story Elements lists for each Act and examples in Chapters 7-21.


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From Screenwriting Tricks for Authors: Stealing Hollywood, © Alexandra Sokoloff