You start with the first question, then just go down the list, one question at a time, follow the instructions, and add a little bit more to your story – a small addition to your character, plot, theme or genre.
Every once in a while StoryWeaver asks you to blend that new material you developed over the past few questions into an ever-evolving synopsis that ultimately will be the treatment and outline for your story.
So, the way to use the software is like handrails on stairs. Each stair is another dramatic point in your story, and the handrails (the instructions on each question) help guide you safely from one step to the next.
The concept is pretty simple, really, though it took eight years to work out all the details. The real innovation in StoryWeaver is that it quotes your answers on earlier questions when it helps you to answer a new question. So sometimes, you may encounter a question that presents your previous work from four or five earlier questions so you can see the patterns of what you are creating, which helps you tie things together and to stay consistent.
Each question has more than just instructions asking you to write something or work something out. It also provides examples, background information and even a little bit about how that story point fits into overall story structure – all to light up the room you are working in at the moment so you never find yourself in the dark or without a clear path ahead.
So, my best advice is to open the program, go to the first question in the list on the left, and then just follow them from top to bottom (though their organizing folders and subfolders – it’s just a list, but grouped into folders section by section).
You’ll learn more about your story every step of the way and by the time you are done you’ll have it all worked out – every character, what happens to them, what it all means, and how it impacts your reader or audience.
I hope this helps you get the most out of StoryWeaver as your step by step path for developing your novel or screenplay.
May the Muse be with you!
Melanie Anne Phillips