QUIZ: Will you know when your screenplay is actually finished?

B. O'Malley

When screenwriters should stop writing

When screenwriters should stop writing“Save as PDF” – It’s the new PRINT button.

And it’s the button you’ve been working years toward; pouring your blood into your screenplay for. It’s that final moment when you can say “I’m done with this screenplay.  Time to move on to the next one,” or whatever it is you do next.

But how do you know when that moment arrives?  After countless rewrites, thousands of bad notes, dozens of good notes, and millions of finger miles logged with your favorite keyboard?

Easy! It’s all a matter of running your screenplay through this extremely extremely scientific, extremely extremely detailed quiz below.

Back off man. We’re scientists.

The “Am I Truly Done With My Screenplay?” Quiz


Is your main character ever in any sort of interesting conflict, dramatic, physical, or otherwise? 

[ ] Yes  [ ] No  [ ] Meh


Are your characters interesting? Like, really really interesting?

[ ] Yes  [ ] No  [ ] Meh


If there are comedic moments in your script, do you laugh when you read them?

[ ] Yes  [ ] No  [ ] Meh


Is your action fun or creative, and described in a way that’s both vivid and succinct?

[ ] Yes  [ ] No  [ ] Meh


Are your dramatic scenes crisp and believable within the context of your universe, and does each one move the plot forward?

[ ] Yes  [ ] No  [ ] Meh


Is each character in your script unique and necessary, rather than interchangeable with other characters?

[ ] Yes  [ ] No [ ] Meh


Do you have at least one character in your script who you can see becoming memorable along the lines of  Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard?  Or even Bruce Willis in Diehard?   Or at least C3PO in Star Wars?  

[ ] Yes  [ ] No  [ ] Meh


Does every line and every single page entertain the audience?

[ ] Yes  [ ] No  [ ] Meh


Does every single plot turn or twist in your script feel both surprising and utterly inevitable?

[ ] Yes  [ ] No  [ ] Meh


Is this movie something people would want to pay money to see, or stop on as they’re scrolling through Netflix titles?

[ ] Yes  [ ] No  [ ] Meh


Scoring System

If you scored 10 Yes, congratulations!

If you scored less than 10 in the Yes column, your screenplay is not finished.

And by the way, “Meh” is no way to go through life, son.

Super-Scientific Conclusion

Is there drama in your script?  Make it more dramatic. The problems rich white twin sisters aren’t always automatically dramatic, but they can be.

Is there comedy in your script?  Make us laugh harder. If you’re not a comedy writer, stick to Holocaust films.  If you are a comedy writer, get better at it.

Is there action in your script?  Give us action that makes our jaws drop.  The litmus test for writing really great action:  Scenes that a Stunt Coordinator would drool over, not a CGI artist.

Every line of your script can always be stronger, briefer, funnier, more heartbreaking.

And finally, our quiz, as you may have guessed, absolutely represents the cutting edge of screenwriting technology and research. That it appears like a fluff piece out of a perfume-smothered issue of Cosmopolitan is merely our way of disguising its true nature.

And like they say in Cosmopolitan: don’t stop writing until your script is an unstoppable, bloodthirsty entertainment cyborg out to entertain the hell out of every living being who comes within range.

2 Comments on “QUIZ: Will you know when your screenplay is actually finished?”

  1. Hi there,

    And thanks for yet another interesting article about the art of screenwriting :P. Just one point that got me scratching my head a little: is it bad if the antagonist is as interesting as the protagonist? What about the idea that the real value of a hero can only be measured by the power of his enemy ?

    Thanks !

    1. Every character needs to be interesting. If everybody’s interesting except the protagonist, that could a problem. Or it could be Michael Bay interview.

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