Once a project is more than a few vague ideas, I write moments on cards. Then I lay out the moments in order and move them around to try out different structures. A scene might be one card or several cards depending on how many moments are place in one time and place with one set of characters. I also note what change occurs in each scene and what the conflict is. I'm checking that each scene moves the story forward.
Originally Posted by ShannonR.
For example, here are two random cards from one of my screenplays (random because I dropped the stack picking it up just now):
Deidre w/ Bud finds street kid
Kid doesn't know Deidre± ignorant --> aware & complacent --> guilty
Kid realizes Deidre is cop girl was looking for
Girl was in trouble w/ bad guys
>< Deidre v kid
In this scene, Deidre gets some critical information from a street kid. She goes from ignorant of the situation to aware. This information also shakes her from her complacency of being a good cop doing her job to feeling guilty about brushing off the girl who came to her for help and is now missing.
Deidre has lunch w/ Hugo
Discontents are shared± Rudderless --> Determined
>< Deidre v Hugo
Deidre starts this scene not knowing what to do next. She ends it with renewed drive and direction.
Even though Deidre and Hugo are forging an alliance in this scene, they have different agendas for the partnership and different goals.
You might recognize the ± and >< notations from Blake Snyder's Save the Cat. I find a lot of what Blake Snyder says absolute crap. And a lot is gold.