[Write On Wednesday] 5-6-7-8

This month I’ve been encouraging you to write short stories in unusual forms and genres.

Since I’m spending today trekking back and forth to NYC to see the new Frozen musical with my kid’s school (I know, such a hardship, right?), I decided to urge you to write an outline for a musical today.

This is a bit of an odd one and if you’re not such a theater nerd as me, pick your favorite genre of movie, and imagine you’re writing an outline of all the sequences in your movie (there are probably about 8, with a big dramatic turning point at each quarter mark).

The Prompt

Write An Outline, or the Song/Scene List for a Dramatic Presentation


This isn’t going to read like a traditional narrative story

Imagine you’re looking at the program for a musical: it has a list of the scenes/songs you’re going to hear. Recreate that for your fantasy musical.

Here are some of the beats your two-act musical should hit:

  1. Big opening number that introduces the characters, setting, theme & tone.
  2. Character song – introduces your main characters desire and obstacle
  3. Introduction to the love interest/problem/antagonist
  4. Set back (probably a big chorus number)
  5. Comedy song (featuring a minor character, to relieve the tension – ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’, or ‘Gaston’)
  6. A serious ballad that restates the problem
  7. A decision song. The main character is going for it, assembling their team
  8. Set up for the big action of the second half. Cliffhanger! (Definitely have all characters on stage)
  9. Another song restating the desire and obstacles of the main character
  10. Big number setting up for the climax, featuring multiple characters
  11. Final struggle song
  12. Quick charming song resolving the action
  13. Finale, a powerful song bringing back all the characters, even the dead ones. Probably has a similar title to one we’ve heard before.


So that’s it. Decide on a premise for your pretend musical. Figure out who your main character is, their desire, their obstacle and their antagonist.  Then go to town creating song titles that fit the outline above. Have fun with this! Come up with a title for your musical and feel free to add notes to your ‘program’ with character names, suggestions for interval drinks and snacks, and perhaps even sponsorships by local businesses!