5 Tips to Refine Your Novel, Memoir, Screenplay

5 Tips to Refine Your novel, memoir, screenplayYou’ve written your novel, memoir, screenplay all the way through to the end. You’ve rewritten. You’ve revised, and rewritten again, (and perhaps again and again and again…). The final step before sending out your story is refinement. Warning: following all 5 tips to refine your novel, memoir, screenplay at the same time you’re doing the final rewrite can be a lot to juggle.


Refinement comes only after you’ve

  • written several drafts
  • revised
  • solidified the plot, structure, character emotional development, and thematic significance of your piece

For example, I wrote a rough draft of my current novel-in-progress  The Avenue following the plot prompts from my book The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts. Then I revised the novel using my on-line video course PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month.

5 Refinement Tips

Having recently finished a major rewrite based on the revision, I’m now satisfied with a solid plot, structure, character emotional development, and thematic significance. Onto the refinement stage… As tedious as the process is in writing every scene, paragraph, and word perfect, I’ve found the following 5 tips to refine your novel, memoir, screenplay helpful.

  • Track your scenes from beginning to end on a Scene Tracker for the thematic details in each scene
    • This brings you back to the meaning in your story and reminds you of the bigger picture thus bringing a broader view and a tighter integration of each scene
  • Do the same sort of tracking from beginning to end on a Scene Tracker this time for the characters’ goal in each scene
    • even after pre-plotting and revising and rewriting, I’m still coming across scenes where the short-term goal is not definite, measurable, and concrete and thus not moving her nearer to reaching her long-term, primary plot goal. Focus the scene around the goal and suddenly, rather than floating, the scene advances the plot
  • the AvenueTrack your scenes from beginning to end on a Scene Tracker for the Character Emotional Development for each major character
    • I put off creating a Scene Tracker for The Avenue during Revise Your Novel in a Month, thinking I’ll do it now during this final refinement stage. Slowly, methodically, analytically moving through each scene for the 7 essential elements (more if you’re writing mystery, romance, etc.) has revealed at least one ah-ha moment, usually more, per scene
  •  Determine the scene type for each scene
  • Plot your scenes on a Plot Planner
    • Take note of the passive scenes you have and where they fall. Though I’ve done several Plot Planners for The Avenue (one for each rewrite and revision), I’m still discovering scenes to cut or rewrite to create more tension and conflict and pop the scene to “above the line”

I trust you’ll find new angles to explore and develop as you use these 5 Tips to Refine Your Novel, Memoir, Screenplay.