COVERSCRIPT TIPS – Though-lines

…Questions to ask and answer about them.

1) Does your story have a viable major through-line around which the majority of your scenes revolves, or are your scenes “stuff just happening?”

2) Can you state your major through-line as a start-to-finish central dramatic question?

3) Does your story have interesting minor through-lines (subplot through-lines) that run parallel to or intersect with the major through-line?

4) Can you state your minor through-lines as lesser dramatic questions?

5) Is it a strong enough, or an interesting enough central dramatic question to make your audience want to stick around for two hours or so to find out how it will be answered?

6) Is there enough conflict inherent in your story’s setup to generate the twists, turns, obstacles, and reversals necessary to fully exploit the central dramatic question in act two?

7) Is your central dramatic question well-answered?  In other words, is there enough payoff in act three for the audience to feel they got their time and/or money’s worth sticking around to find out the answer to the central dramatic question you posed in act one?

With the exception of the very occasional comic relief scene, or the scene that’s present in the piece for pacing purposes, EVERY scene should either contribute to setting up a through-line, or once the through-lines are set up, move your story forward along one of those through-lines.

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