Friday, September 7, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

     Climbing the Story Ladder

In my attempt to compose a more complete and textured manuscript I was reminded of using a Story Ladder from a good writer friend of mine. I had first learned of this writers' aid last fall at a SCBWI retreat - however, at that time the concept seemed too complicated to be practical. I have taken the model my friend shared, and personalized it to fit my needs. Wow, has it been a helpful format to organize my plot  line. I plan on using this aid for my subsequent manuscripts. However, next time I will fill it out as I complete each chapter!

Below is a photo of half of the Story Ladder for my WIP.

On the left, down the side, is the number of each chapter. Across the top is a space for four scenes/events, characters in each chapter, a summary, and a few blank columns for specific items I want to track in my story. Using this guide has allowed me to see places where I should include a secondary character again, where specific characters are included in the story, where specific events take place, and a variety of other details - all at a glance. As I have worked to create a more polished MS to submit, this aid has shed light as to where it still needs work. I'm hoping to send off query letters by the end of October - wish me luck!

Do you use a Story Ladder, or have a favorite way to track your story?


  1. I have never heard of a Story Ladder, but I like the idea. I hope you don't mind if I print this page for reference. :)

    1. Sure, Linda. Depending on your computer you should be able to click on "format" then "insert" and there will be the word "table" to click on. This will give you the skeleton of the format shown here. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Nice organization. I tried to do some sort of chapter plot line but it didn't work so well. I may give the ladder a try. And good luck getting ready to query.

  3. Thanks for explaining how Story Ladder works. I don't keep track of my WIP in such a neat format, but I sure need to. Instead I keep notebooks of outlines and brainstorming with a bunch of scribbles, lol!