Story on a Page or S.O.A.P.
by Nicki Salcedo
You are writing a book, and you need an easy way to summarize your ideas. Unfortunately, you can’t carry around your poster-sized storyboard or 10-page synopsis everywhere you go. Here’s a guide to putting your entire story on a page. Have your SOAP with you at all times so you can keep writing.
Vital stats, archetypes 1
Secret that will be revealed in story
Section 2: Goal, Motivation and Conflict 2
Section 3: Conflicts
Traits of hero and heroine that show that they are different
Section 4: Common ground
Traits of heroine or hero that show where they are compatible
Section 5: Secondary Characters
Other characters that move the story forward, make it more vivid, or have a brief but important impact
Section 6: Scenes or Chapters
Highlight the top 10 scenes or write a sentence for each chapter
Section 7: Themes
Write your theme, elevator pitch, high concept or blurb.
Section 8: Progress
You can use symbols (# ! $) to indicate stages of intimacy, hero’s journey, story arc, or subplots.
See the next page for a sample SOAP. This table may bring order to your writing life or it can help you write out of order. There is no reason why you can’t write Chapter 14 first. Rearrange scenes and chapters as you go along. Don’t spend too much time on creating your SOAP. Use it to keep you focused and making progress on your novel.
2 Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction by Debra Dixon