Here’s Your Beat Sheet Template
There are many ways to create a “beat sheet.” On a computer. On a sheet of typing paper. On the back of an envelope. 3 by 5 cards. A string of yellow sticky notes.
If you aren’t familiar with the term, a “beat sheet” is a bulleted listing of the scenes in your story. Read more about it HERE.
Your beat sheet can be generic (such as, “Hero meets prospective love interest”)… or specific (“Butch sees Rachel being interviewed on the news and realizes he has to meet her”). It can be both.
In fact, one of the ways you use a beat sheet is to evolve the generic toward the specific.
If you can identify your major story milestones here, you can begin to identify the ramp-up and reactive scenes that surround them.
When you’re done, you’ve got your story on one or at least several pages.
Each of the four sections shows 14 beats, or scenes. Feel free to shrink or expand that amount. This is why we have word processing software.
Huge thanks to Storyfix reader Rachel Savage, who provided this for us. The bit of layout messiness is mine, not hers. (Can’t seem to get WordPress to cooperate, but it’s functional.)
Click. Print. Think. Create your story in your head before you write it. All of it.
Yes, you can.
Will it be final? No. Will it be structurally sound? Yes, if you don’t quit before you’re done.
Everything from that point forward — the actual writing and revising of the manuscript — is pure, blissful upside, rather than a random search for your story.
That’s what the beat sheet is for.
CLICK HERE to get your reprintable beat sheet template. Or, see the first comment below (from Rachel, the creator of this template), which has a link to a slightly cleaner version than mine.