Numbers Game: Increments of your story

01934 These Numbers Are Everywhere
Image by nickhall via Flickr

One hundred to 110 pages seems like a lot when you are staring at a blank page to begin your script.  But if you break the whole into parts you can set yourself manageable writing goals.  Your first draft will probably end up at about 110-112 pages.  You will trim it down after the first draft is written.  For now you want to set mid-term goals to complete your script.

The script will average 80 to 85 scenes.  Set yourself a small, manageable goal to complete a segment of your story.  By managing small goals you will achieve the big one: your completed screenplay.  Let’s look at how you would break that down into manageable segments in the traditional three act/eight sequence structure:


Sequence 1 – Introduce Main Character/Status Quo

Plot Point #1: Inciting Incident/Point of Attack

Sequence 2 – Set Predicament/Establish Main Tension

Plot Point #2: The Lock In


Sequence 3 – First Obstacle/Raise the Stakes

Sequence 4 – Higher Obstacle

Plot Point #3: First Culmination

Sequence 5 – Subplot/Rising Action

Sequence 6 – Highest obstacle

Plot Point #4: Main Culmination


Sequence 7 – New Tension

Plot Point #5: 5. Twist

Sequence 8 – Resolution

You don’t have to write them in order.  You assemble them when you have finished writing the draft.  However you write them to construct the story, each time you complete a segment of your script congratulate yourself for completing a goal.

Or, you can use the Blake Snyder/Save the Cat breakdown.

1. Opening Image (1) (1%):

2. Theme Stated (5) (4.5%):

3. Set-Up (1-10) (1-9%):

4. Catalyst (12) (11%):

5. Debate (12-25) (11-23%):

6. Break into Two (25) (23%)

7. B Story (30) (27%):

8. Fun and Games (30-55) (27-50%):

9. Midpoint (55) (50%):

10. Bad Guys Close In (55-75) (50-68%):

11. All Is Lost (75) (68%):

12. Dark Night of the Soul (75-85) (68-79%):

13. Break into Three (85) (79%):

14. Finale (85-110) (79-100%):

15. Final Image (110) (100%):

Either way you are a winner—you complete your screenplay.  Keep writing.

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