As I’m working on my next manuscript, I have a feeling for the beginning and end of my story but I don’t really know much about that big, sticky, middle section yet. But after reading The Writer’s Guide to Writing Your Screenplay by Cynthia Whitcomb, I’m using a technique she discusses to help me discover more of my story.
Basically, using a stack of 3×5 index cards, you write your working title on one card, Act I, Act II, and Act III on three others, and then write out as many scenes from the beginning and ending that you know you’ll have. Write down the basic information: where, when, and what. Some of these will be “obligatory” scenes, i.e. in a romance story, you have to have a scene where boy meets girls. In a mystery, you have a scene with a dead body. In a thriller, the bad guy is introduced. Read more