The term rundown is the diminutive of scale. The first meaning mentioned by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) refers to a device made up of a plank, a pair of timbers and a bolt, used to achieve suspension of the axle of a vehicle and thus turn its wheels to repair, clean or replace them.

Outline of written work

The most common use of the concept, however, refers to the scheme that develops to preparation mode of a television or film script, of a story or of a novel.

Writing rundown

The rundown is the fundamental skeleton of the plot

It is often said that, when creating a work, the rundown is located between the synopsis and the text already finished. The synopsis summarizes, in a broad sense, the idea that will be developed, while the rundown organizes the information and allows it to be structured. Therefore, the first step is to write the synopsis, then the rundown, and finally the job as it will be used in the project.

The rundown does not always appear in the work of storytellers and novelists. On the other hand, for TV or film scriptwriters, it is a fundamental tool since the organizational needs are greater. In fact, a screenplay it usually involves more than one person, so the data must be clear and accessible to all project participants.

The creation of the rundown, in short, depends on the author’s habits and of the needs of the construction site. While a children’s story is likely to be able to develop without the instance of the rundown, a historical novel does demand this scheme to minimize possible errors.

The first step: putting order

Each person or group reaches the instance in which they will begin to write the rundown in a different way: there are those who have only defined the plot, others who have developed the plot synopsis or it is even possible to have only certain scenes in mind. The first step is to sort all content that we have devised or shaped to obtain a structure clear of the story, from its beginning to its end.

At this point in the writing process it is necessary to answer the fundamental questions, such as where and when the history and who are the protagonists and the antagonists. Once we have this, we can start building the rundown without fear of overlooking some essential information.

Creation of the rundown

Another way of understanding the rundown is as a diagram of all the “steps” that the story has, of the main points that can be seen in the progression dramatic. It is important to mention that this should not coincide with other conventional divisions, such as acts or scenes, something that is usually thought about later.

Messy ideas rundown

We start from disordered ideas and order them in the rundown

For the moment, it is enough to put each action of the plot on paper located in their respective time and space. Also at this point, cause-consequence relationships are usually drawn, which give consistency to the story and make it credible to the public. The degree of clarity of this document should be such that any reader can understand it.

This scheme of steps must be reviewed to change any place, add anything that we have forgotten or remove what is too much, among other possible modifications. Once we are satisfied, we can proceed to think about the scenes, within which there are usually several steps, although it can also happen that only one is counted in more than one scene. The last review should control the intervention of the characters, the succession of events in time and the turns of the plot, among other important aspects.