How do I analyse my ideas?

Believing that an idea will make a good scene is not reason enough to include it in your manuscript. You must dig deeper and ask yourself how it will add value to the story, how it will move the story forward and where it will sit in the grand scheme of things.

Once you have compiled a list of all the ideas swimming around in your head, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the event/scene necessary? (Trust your insincts!) 
  • What about the character will it help you show? What information will it allow you to reveal?
  • Will it help the protagonist grow as a person by challenging them? If so, in what way?
  • Will it hinder the protagonist’s efforts to progress towards their goals? If so, how?
  • What will instigate the event? (cause)
  • What will happen as a result? (effect)

Note that you do not need to have all the answers now. The exercise it designed to get you thinking critically about what ideas to develop further and which you should let go of before you get too attached. If you can easily answer the questions above in relation to an idea, you can be confident it’s one you should explore. If, on the other hand, you struggle to see the benefits of the idea, you should think twice before including it in the story, as it may be one of self-indulgence rather than a meaningful, relevant inclusion for your character’s journey.