Storycrafting 8 – Story Starter Worksheet

Posted on April 25, 2017


A while back I wrote I Have an Idea for a Book/Movie, I admit it was a bit rough. But when I got stuck on a story recently (for like 2 years), I decided to take my own advice and create a worksheet for the story to see if I could diagnose the issue. This is what I came up with. I’ll apply it to various drafts of the story in later posts to be more prescriptive. In the mean time, links to the references are in the original piece.

This is just enough to get you started and then feed any outline or simply “pants” it. For me, this is what I need to sit down and write, to know what the story is really about.

You can down load the Word doc here: Story Starter Worksheet


Start with a Situation or Idea

Situation/What if

Create a Concept

What if + Complication/Twist = Concept

Refine the Concept

From a state-of-being to a call-to-action.
From a snapshot toward a moving and evolving set of images and possibilities.
From an explanation to a proposition.
From a character to a journey.
From a story about something to a story about something dramatic.

Concept to High Concept

High level of entertainment value
High degree of originality
Born from a “what if” question
Highly visual
Clear emotional focus
Inclusion of some truly unique element
Mass audience appeal (to a broad general audience, or a large niche market).

High Concept to Premise

Elevator pitch formula.(Character) wants (Goal) because (Motivation), but (Conflict
A Character (Protagonist/Hero)
A Goal (Something the Hero wants)
A Motivation (The ‘why’ that’s driving what the Hero wants)
A Conflict (The Antagonist, what’s standing in the Hero’s way of getting what he wants)

Premise to Story

How does it start? What was the hero’s before world?
What was the inciting incident which upset the status quo?
What will ultimately get the hero to take up the challenge?
What obstacles and characters need to be overcome?
What event will try and eventually change the hero?
What does the hero’s new world look like?

Theme to Literature

What is the theme?

Put it Together

High Concept:
Start with a face-grabber
Posted in: Technique, Writing