Tinderbox Forum

TBX to develop, write and review stories (novel, screenplay, ...)

I would like to share a little a Tinderbox file which I use for story development. I write screenplays and novels but it might be suitable for others as well.

Beginning of this year I restarted with Tinderbox and revamped my novel review process. The structure and the content of this Tinderbox has incrementally emerged over time.

With the help of you in this forum I learned a lot and still learning a lot also by watching the videos.

Many thanks ☆ ☆ ☆ to all of you and for your never ending support and your inspirations. Special thanks as well to @mwra, @satikusala, @eastgate and @archurhh.

The scenes and details used in this Tinderbox are for illustration purpose.

All the best!

WritersBox.tbx (563.3 KB)


This looks interesting, @Gernot - many thanks! However, having played with the file for a bit, I confess that I am stuck. Could you give a little help how one should approach the file? How can I e.g. “see” the different views (scene view, plot view, arc view)?
Perhaps it is easiest if you describe how you use it? And what the purpose of the different elements is (say the templates)? Thanks in advance!

Thanks for your Feedback.

Let me try to give you an answer …

1. When I develop a new story I start with an idea ($Name(/StoryOutline/)).

The most important container in the note is $Container(/StoryOutline/). This represents the story structure.

The name is usually just a working title for the moment.

2. When I have the idea I break it down into four parts ($Level=Act).

In story theory there are lots of different names for the four acts.

Most common names for me are:

  1. Act: Setup
  2. Act: Complication
  3. Act: Confrontation
  4. Act: Resolution

The ArcView and PlotView uses the four acts and breaks it further down. The intention for me as author is to get a better understanding of the story I am going to tell/write.

3. When I have the act level defined I break every act into four chapters ($Level=Chapter).

The chapter structure (for the real book) I usually change later. For the beginning it helps me to structure my story.

Here is an example: If I have “Obtaining Something” in the last act I may break the act further down into:

  • Having an Obnoxious Management Style
  • Being Self Interested
  • Being Generous to a Particular Group
  • Having an Attitude toward Someone

The breakdown of every act into 4 chapters will result in 16 chapters.

In Dramatica theory, which I use for story development, the $Level=Chapter (in Dramatica Variation) represents a thematic message. For Obtaining a thematic message can be Attitude, Approach, Self-Interest or Morality.

4. When I have the act and chapters defined I do try to come up with four scenes ($Level=Element aka Scene) for every chapter.

If course, depends on the story I may have less or more scenes per chapter. However, this is just the start and take off with writing.

The breakdown of four follows always the same structure:

  1. Setup
  2. Complication
  3. Confrontation
  4. Resolution

Here is a list of attributes I have defined. Some of them I use in the templates to steer the export process. Most of the attributes are derived from story theory.


$Goal = goal for the story or in a scene (find something, become famous, fall in love, win something, stop someone, escape …)

$Dilemma = the big problem, issue, theme … which surfaces explicitly or implicitly in every scene

$MySet = defines to which plot point a scenes belongs, used in template PlotView to break scenes by Beats/Plotpoints

$MyTimeSlot = when does a scene happen, used in template TimelineView to break scenes by time

$MyNumber = act, chapter or scene number, used in templates to order scenes

$StoryPoint = the point the author wants to make in a scene (Self-interest is good under the bovine situation, Molarity is bad under the given circumstances …)

Attributes I have defined for Players are derived from the Enneagram.

I use the Enneagram to develop my cast for my stories.

$MyNumber in $Container(/Player/) stands for the Enneagram Type like 1=Rule, 2=Lover…

$MyRole in Player defines an Archetype like Protagonist, Antagonist … as defined in Dramatica.

In Dramatica every archetype has a special set of qualities (methods, motivations …)

The protagonist pursues the goal. The antagonist avoids the goal. The emotion sees the bigger picture. The sidekick is smarter than the hero …

I got a bit off-track from Tinderbox and dived into story theory ;o).

However, I hope this helps.

If you have any further questions pls let mew know.