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 The Story Test

Adapted from Writers Workshop Script Doctor

Copyright © 1994, 1996, 1998, Dorian Scott Cole 

Use this test to help find areas needing improvement in your screenplay or story. Use feedback from others to help you answer. Not every question applies to every story - you be the judge.

CHARACTER

Do the characters seem real, or are they larger than life or just plain boring?

Do the characters have enough depth for the story, or do they read like a cartoon characters?

Do the characters change emotionally or make decisions in applicable scenes and through the story?

Are the protagonist and antagonist well matched, or is the conflict unfair?

Are the characters likable or hateable, or are they just humdrum people?

Are character's intentions evident in their scenes, or is the viewer uncertain what they're up to?

Does the protagonist capture your interest, or could he be replaced with a cardboard cutout?

Does the main character seem to have clear objectives, or is he motivated only by the needs of the scene?

Does the main character take charge, or is he forced into everything?

STRUCTURE

Is the concept too big or complicated for a movie?

Is the story new and imaginative?

Does the viewer know what the story is about within the first ten minutes?

Do the first five minutes capture your interest?

Do the first twenty minutes capture and hold your interest?

Does the storyline seem real, or would it make a better animated story?

Are story events predictable?

Does the story confuse the audience?

Does the story deliver what the beginning promised?

Does tension build until the climax?

Do the subplots seem related and interesting?

Does the viewer lose interest in the story anywhere? Where?

Are the conflicts and obstacles big enough to challenge the protagonist, or are struggles too easy?

Is the action too repetitive or boring?

Is the ending satisfying?

Is the pace too slow or fast?

Is three act development in evidence, complete with turning points, obstacles, conflict and plot twists?

Are there surprises, like plot twists?

Do things happen for no apparent reason, confusing the viewer?

SCENES & DRAMA

Do scenes seem to mesh with each other, or do they jump around and confuse the viewer?

Are there enough interesting settings?

Is there conflict in most scenes?

Do characters glide through scenes like nothing is happening, or do they usually react and change emotional states?

DIALOGUE

Is the dialogue crisp (short, focused) and real?

Are too many things spoken which should be revealed through conflict and drama?

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