Michille: Self-Editing List for Scene

Act II Edited PageI took a page from Kat’s book (or a recent post, anyway) and looked back through my McDaniel Romance Writing class notes. I came across this checklist for self-editing a scene (from the second class). I did not create it. I got it somewhere else (it could have been Jenny or maybe Jeanne). I like it because it guides me with concrete questions that address conflict, motivation, character and story arc, and tension. It along with many other hints/tips/tricks is stuck to the bulletin board beside my desk. 

Self-Editing List for Scene

  1. Who is my protagonist in this scene?
  2. What does she want?
  3. Why does she want it?
  4. What’s her plan for getting it?
  5. Who is my antagonist in this scene?
  6. What does he want?
  7. Why does he want it?
  8. What’s his plan for getting it?
  9. Who makes the first move to get his or her goal in this scene? What is it?
  10. How does the other character in the conflict respond?
  11. How does this response escalate the conflict?
  12. Lather, rinse, repeat until . . . Who wins the conflict?
  13. How is the protagonist changed by this outcome?
  14. How is the antagonist changed by this outcome?
  15. How does this outcome make the reader want to turn the page or throw the reader into another scene? (Hint: Expectation established during scene.)

So whose list did I steal?

8 thoughts on “Michille: Self-Editing List for Scene

  1. This looks like something Jeanne E may have posted. She finds the best stuff 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this again, Michille. Review is always a good thing. I’m adding it to my checklist.

  2. I don’t think you stole that list, Michille! I think you poured it into your cauldron of creativity and are using it to its best advantage.:-) It’s a great list, wherever it originated. Probably from Shakespeare.

    • It might be my creative genius, but if I didn’t steal it verbatim, I’m fairly sure some of it came from Jenny (lather, rinse, repeat was a common theme in the McD courses) and I think Kat is right that some may have come from Jeanne. A group effort.

  3. I clearly remember this. A shame I haven’t been USING it, or it might explain why some of my follow-up scenes to the first few are so meh. Putting this by the computer!

    • I’m sure if I go through more of my archives that I’ll find a lot more of these things that I’m not using either. We got so much information in those 5 courses (7 courses for a few of us) it was hard to digest it all.

  4. Pingback: Michille: First-Pass Editing | Eight Ladies Writing

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