A random, eclectic mix of thoughts, feelings, observations, and experiences – LIFE

Do you find that your timing is a bit off? Do you rush the brush? Is the story unfolding too quickly? Maybe things are moving too slowly. Apparently, there’s there may be a science to this thing. I recently discovered the Beat Sheet, created by Blake Snyder.

The Beat Sheet is based on the idea that there are 15 “beats” to a novel. They are:

1. Opening Image

2. Theme Stated

3. Set-Up

4. Catalyst

5. Debate

6. Break into Two

7. B Story

8. Fun and Games

9. Midpoint

10. Bad Guys Close In

11. All Is Lost

12. Dark Night of the Soul

13. Break into Three

14. Finale

15. Final Image

Now, each beat should occur at a certain point in the novel. No, not roughly. Literally on a particular page… Or within 2-3 pages. Crazy, right? I know. But… A lot of people swear by this method. Elizabeth Davis even created a Beat Sheet spreadsheet. Yeah… A spreadsheet. You can download it here.

I haven’t tested this method out, so I can’t give it a fair judgment. Will I try it? Maybe. It seems pretty specific. I’ve come across quite a few methods of plotting, and this one is the most specific. It may be a bit too specific for my taste. I like to do things in a very orderly fashion, but I also like to give myself room to move around. This is something I may use in combination with another method. For example, I can see myself writing my novel, using some other method, then using this at the time of revision. If things aren’t happening at the best possible pace, I’ll use the spreadsheet and see if it helps.

As for you… Feel free to give it a wholehearted go!


Related Links:

How to Use the “Save the Cat” Beat Sheet for Revisions

Save the Cat Novel Writing Workshop

The Complications Worksheet

Other Links:

Lydia Kang on Revising 101

Kristen Lamb on The Concept Critique


What plotting methods have you come across? 

Comments on: "Writer Wednesday: “Save the Cat Beat Sheet”" (16)

  1. I don’t think I’d be able to use it as part of my initial plotting and writing, but it looks like a valuable resource for the post-writing stage–as a kind of checklist to make sure you’ve hit the story arc on the head.

  2. Thanks for the link! 🙂

    As a follow-up to my post on using the spreadsheet for revisions, I finished revising my pantsed novel in record time, so I really think this is a great way to check the structure of our stories before diving in to make things “pretty.” 🙂

  3. It’s industry-standard, really. He was an amazing guy to just toss it out like that. My degree is in Film (the emphasis) and while we didn’t study HIM we did know that by minute 30, you’d better have ___.

    • Who know “art” to be so… specific?
      I don’t know how pantsers do it. I’d feel like I’m doing double work if I pantsed a novel, and had to go back and move things around to place I knew they had to be anyway. *scratches head*

      And Film, eh? I’ll think about how I can benefit from your degree and get back to you. Hehehe.

      • Technically, I’m a pantser but I’m not trying to be published ;p As I said, emphasis on film. My degree is Communications>Media Advertising>Film>Photography. I got THIS job when we still used large format cameras (one per ROOM) and a literally used a drawing board … to draw on!

        • I can’t pants! That’s terrifying! I need to have some sort of plan. Even if it’s loose.
          Do you write scripts? Check out scriptfrenzy.org!

          • Screenplays: I’ve done Screnzy since the 1st. I did maybe 8 nanos? I’m not into them anymore but thanks (I hosted write-ins in STL for 6 years).

        • Sorry… Gotta reply up here.
          That’s pretty awesome! I’d love to be ML for The Bahamas this year, and host write-ins. Would be pretty cool.
          I used to write plays a LOT. I did most of the skits for my grade in elementary and high school. I’ve never done a fancy, proper one. Maybe I should revisit it. Hmmm… Are you on-call for tips?

          • Maaaybe…I don’t know what I’d know to help. I mean, with studying film, we learned how to do shooting scripts, storyboards, etc. I didn’t “want to be a writer” as a kid. I started nano in support of a friend who wanted to do it, then dropped out. I finished 🙂

            I’ll help anyway I can but I don’t know what would help!

        • Good enough for me! One needs friends and sounding boards in this neck of the woods.

  4. Save the Cat has been a helpful way to see my plot. Thanks for the shout out, too!

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