Writing Checklist

This is the writing checklist. Here, I will keep track of two things. Firstly, the writing techniques or problems which I am currently working on or investigating, and my progress on them. Secondly, I’ll keep track of a ‘novel checklist’. This is everything I need to be able to do before I start writing novels. If you have suggestions for additions to the checklist, please let me know.


  • Dynamic characters
    • Experimenting with ‘character introductions’. (Note to self: change these as the characters change.)
  • Be able to generate Character Arcs
    • Basic Structure identified (epiphany is end change, character is one without epiphany at start [epiphany is method to defeat obstacle, which is dictated by story type based on goal]). Waiting for results from testing….
      • From development: easy creation. Do not have a method to create steps. Research required.
      • From Testing (from research): Chance for entire process to be wiped out. First test yields simple creation of entire plot structure. Stakes, character, escalation, and details need to be worked out. Note that injustice is missing. Note that story types seem incompatible (unable to assign single type). Obstacle seems to be defined by Lie; created by preventing the Need. Ghost is 6th base and can present trouble.
      • From Testing (from research): Do not fully understand flat arc yet. Don’t feel the same amount of familiarity as I do with the change arc. Studying Source Material…
  • Define personal stakes baseline:
    • Currently character is always incomplete in some way. Waiting for results from testing….
      • Character Arc testing indicates this is correct, and is a result of the character’s Lie and Need.
  • Know when basic stakes work
    • Practicing stopping when the motivation is strong enough to get the character to act as needed. This has been a major problem in the past (my inability to know when to stop, meaning my stakes kept falling apart because I could never define when they worked).
  • Be able to show any character internal thought without dialogue or narration.
    • Have a good method, got to get used to (and good with) it.
  • Investigate how character arcs work in a series.
    • From research: two methods discovered, spread out arc, or multiple arcs (combo: multiple spread out arcs).


  • Theme
    • Be able to show any character realization, decision, reaction, or thought, with no dialogue, and with only one or two powerful and clear actions/motions/looks.
    • Be able to convey an idea with no dialogue and a minimum of action. (benchmark: watching sunset silently)
    • Be able to create passive themes. Preferably quickly.
      • Currently struggling to the tune of several years.
  • Development
    • Be able to create the beginnings of a story within one week (story may be scrapped, but must be workable).
      • From development: seem to have a solid grasp on this, currently able to run up the basics in under an hour. More testing required to be sure.
      • From Character Arc Testing: Different approach, also yields more detailed base outline in about one hour. Can we combine these?
    • Know beyond a doubt what the beginnings of a story are (where the idea comes from).
      • Currently working with What If statements, but not too sure about those…
      • From Character Arc Testing: Lie, then Need, then Old World, then New World, then Want seems to work well. Might require some thought in first. Not original seed.
    • Be able to generate a plot off of a character arc (even if not used, I should be capable of this).
      • From Character Arc Testing: Mission Accomplished in first test.
    • Be able to generate a character arc easily.
      • Currently creating arcs based off of epiphany and working backwards to a character incapable of that epiphany until they change. From development: working. No problems so far.
    • Be able to create a plot with built-in twists, rather than building them in later.
      • This creates problems with finding the goal. Instead, do the below:
    • Be able to create true twists in a plot structure (meaning you set up a misdirection, then twist back to the original plan).
    • Be able to quickly find out how one thing should lead to another (investigate if there is a ‘best’ way for things to transition). Used when connecting necessary points in plots, subplots, and character arcs.
    • Be able to create a title within three days (can be scrapped, but must be workable).
    • Be able to create simple, complete stories quickly (story basics – details do not matter).
  • Writing
    • Find a way to have all the relevant information in front of me while writing.
  • Stakes
    • Define the baseline for personal stakes (General definition for all personal stakes; where’s the similarity? Character is incomplete?).
    • Have a surefire way to increase stakes.
    • Remove all doubts about the different types of stakes (how many are there? Purpose?)
    • Know when basic stakes work (know when to stop).
  • Character
    • Be able to create a compelling (compelled to think about/ponder) character through the use of inner conflict (conflicting sides).
    • Be able to create dynamic characters (should stem from the above).
    • Be able to create anti-author characters (characters who are not just parts of the author projected onto the page).
    • Investigate four-point thematic character plots.
  • Series
    • Be able to work with character arcs within a series of any number of books.
      • From research: two methods: multiple arcs or spread out arc (only for planned end series – Primary example, original Star Wars).


These are notes I have accumulated from reviews.

  • Find a way to avoid killing characters the moment their arcs are completed. Better yet, find a way to keep them involved. (primary example: Gill from Finding Nemo.