Tag Archives: 7-point story structure

Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet and Scrivener

A screenshot of my novel ' class=
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I love the beat sheet’s word count per beat.

About the same time I revisted the BS2, Jami Gold posted an excellent article about using beat sheets with Scrivener. What I liked most about the article was the idea of using the target word count for individual chapters and scenes to lay out the beats.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to word counts, I find big numbers like 100k pretty intimidating. One of the beauties of the beat sheet is that it breaks down these numbers into manageable chunks. For a 100k-word novel, however, some of those chunks are still 25k words, so I took the idea one step further, with Scrivener.  Continue reading

Blake Synder's Beat Sheet, with template

Cover of Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
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If you want to understand how the beat sheet works, check out this book.

Best for those outling a new work.

What’s awesome about it

  • The word count for each beat

What’s not-so-awesome

  • It’s daunting, especially when your manuscript is half-written
  • No capacity to outline subplots

The awesome

When I first came across Blake Synder’s Beat Sheet (BS2), I was half-way through the manuscript for Hero and the word count for each beat made me to blanch. The idea of trying to shoehorn my (at that point in time) pantsed story into all of those little boxes (opening image, catalyst, black moment) with their prescribed word counts, was more than my brain could take, but when I went back to the BS2, a new story in mind, they appeared as godsends.  Continue reading

Exploring the Snowflake method

The Snowflake method is the brainchild of Randy Ingermanson. Freely available online, it’s one of the first methods/writing processes that I started playing around with. It’s great for plotters, although pantsers might like to give it a pass, since it’s heavy on the planning. There’s also no world-building to speak of, but there’s nothing to stop you slotting in something like the 30 Days of World-building Exercises to suit your needs.  Continue reading

A writer's notebook for Scrivener

Screenshot of the Writer' class=
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A while ago, I found this writer’s notebook for Scrivener. I prefer to keep my story ideas in separate files, so I haven’t used it yet, but it looks pretty bloody awesome. I particularly like the Writing Helps & Tips section at the top, which includes such goodies as Dan Wells 7-point plot system, “11 tips to increase your productivity” and “How to make stories Rock”.

Unfortunately, the website where I originally found the file is no longer available, but don’t fear, I’ve uploaded it here so that you too can share in the awesomeness.

The goodies

Second draft progress. Whoo!

Second draft in progress
I love my outdoor workspace (except when it’s 30 degrees outside).

For the past month, between work,  karate and finally reading Divergent (excellent book, by the way), I’ve been working on the second draft of Hero. And although I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked, and I’m busting to get to the second part of the my revision process (editing the prose – why does ‘prose’ always sound so snobbish?), the novel is coming along nicely.

Continue reading

Revising Hero and the Pantser's Beat Sheet

A screenshot of the 7-point plot system
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The revision of Hero, using the 7-point plot system

Just after Christmas, I finished the first draft of Hero and since the New Year I’ve been hard at work on the second draft. Dan Wells’s 7-point plot system (aka the Pantser’s Beat Sheet) has been incredibly helpful during the revision process – particularly the layering process (explained in part 5 of Dan Wells’s lecture, available on YouTube) – and it too has undergone a revision. Continue reading

Beat sheet to the rescue, pantser-style

The 7-point plot system, applied to Hero-Fink.
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The 7-point plot system really helped me to nail my plot.

A few weeks ago, I was at the half-way point of my first draft and having trouble with my plot. After ten months of steadily pounding away at the keyboard and chipping at the word count, I was increasing asking myself “what the $#*! happens now?” Although I knew what was going to happen at the end of my story, I didn’t know:

  1. how I was going to get there, or
  2. how all of my subplots were meant to tie in.

And frankly, it was driving me batty. Continue reading