Hollywood Screenwriting Directory

Outline: Five Elements

An outline permits a critical scrutiny of the skeleton before the flesh of action and dialogue are applied. In fact, the very act of putting the “spine” down on paper reveals things about the story that wouldn’t be evident without outlining. 

There is, of course, no magic recipe as to how much you should include in an outline, but even the most rudimentary plan should contain these five core elements: 

1. The protagonist and his or her goal.

2. The supporting cast and what they each want.

3. The five major plot points.

4. The order of events, sequences, and act divisions.

5. A list of scenes you think will help tell the story.