Finding & Fixing Holes in Your Story Structure

A writer recently asked:

Hi, Melanie. I found your website while researching for my feature film screenplay. I have been rewriting this version of the script since October 2010 and writing the entire script for over ten years.

I am feeling rather lost now in this draft as my ending does not line up with how I have rewritten it – I am beyond 120 pages and it would take several more to finish telling my story at this time.

Would you please let me know what I need to discover the holes and make sure I do not have any structural problems (which I believe I have right now)?

I deeply want to master this story and move into production, but I just keep feeling like I am not there yet.

What is the right first step to your process? Do you recommend I start with Dramatica Pro and Storyweaver? As mentioned, I have written this story extensively and know who my characters are and where they are going, I just need some help them getting there.

My reply:

First of all, 120 pages isn’t a rule, just a guideline. So if you are just several more pages, say under 130, you should be fine. (That’s why some movies are 95 minutes and others 135).

As for holes and inconsistencies, your best bet is Dramatica Pro. You answer questions about your story and it cross-references the dramatic impact of your answers to determine what other dramatics need to be included. You can then compare that output to your actual story to see where you may have drifted structurally or where you may have left something out.

StoryWeaver is a more creativity based tool. It helps with inspiration, coming up with your story’s world, who’s in it, what happens to them, and what it all means. It doesn’t sound like you need that kind of help. StoryWeaver is a lot more intuitive and Muse oriented, rather than Dramatica which is logic and analysis focused.

You can download a trial version of both of these at our web site at