Friday, April 30, 2010

Heat Map and Answers

Remember this post I made last week about revision? Here’s the results of some of that analysis:

Steam Palace Heat Map
The columns left-to-right:
  1. Scene Number
  2. Word Count
  3. Cumulative Word Count at end-of-scene.
  4. Importance (0-10). High values indicate a critical scene that usually contains some form of turning point.
  5. Promise Count – Promises are new pieces of story information not explained in the scene. This is high in the beginning of the book and tails off towards the end. I do have a “promises kept” count column but I haven’t started filling it out yet.
  6. Tension Level (0-10) – How high are the stakes in play in a given scene? This is what keeps the reader interested.
Note that this is Act I and a bit of Act II. Can you tell which scene is the transition scene? So you can see that the map starts pretty hot, levels off, then pops up for a bit. From here on, the map should increase into the reds as we press on into Act II, then Act III should be red across the board. Hmm…does that mean the ending is more important than the beginning?
One thing to note is that anything in green is probably worth cutting or combining with another scene. Since I’m running about 6K words over budget, I’m going to look through this carefully to see what I can do.


  1. Your scenes are about the same length as mine. I usually cut my scenes at 1-2kw. I assume the gray lines are chapter marks.

    - Eric

  2. Thanks, I actually meant critique. I'll check out those links. Enjoy your weekend.

  3. Your chart is so organized. I like it. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.


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