Hunger Games 2) — The Beat Sheet

Many readers contacted me requesting the Beat Sheet be distributed up front, to be used as reference and context as the deconstruction moves forward.  (The link is to explain the form and function of a “beat sheet” as a story development and analysis tool.)

Done.  You will find it — the full Hunger Games Beat SheetHERE

I recommend you print it out.  It’s not short.  This beat sheet is an expanded version of what usually appears at a first pass in the story development cycle. 

As one plans a story, the beat sheet contains a lot of simple bare-bones bullets (like, “intro hero here, showing her in her crappy day job“), and then as the scene crystalizes in the author’s mind, the bullet expands into a description of not only the mission of the scene, but of the content and treatment (the means of fulfilling the mission), as well.

This latter version — because I was working backwards from a fully realized story — is very much the latter.

It does include identification of the HOOK… PLOT POINTS… PINCH POINTS… MID-POINT… and associated underlying story physics/forces in play.  I’ll be elaborating more on all this in the series, but it’s called out clearly in this Beat Sheet.

If you’re into this, if you loved the book and/or the film, and you want to go deep, I encourage you to make some time to check this out.  You’ll want to reference it as we go forward, too.

More soon.


Filed under The Hunger Games series

13 Responses to Hunger Games 2) — The Beat Sheet

  1. Wow, that’s a long list. Since my printer looks a little out of paper, I won’t print it out right now, but I might check this out later, when I have more time.

  2. Shaun

    All I have to say to that is I’m completely confused. I don’t understand some of the milestones you’ve chosen. They don’t really seem like milestones. The Hunger Games beat sheets I’ve read online appear more accurate than this. lol I’m completely lost now. I thought I had a pretty good idea about the Milestones. Tsk.

  3. @Shaun — don’t mean this to sound argumentive, but accurate according to who (whom)? There are two linear story arcs in HG, as there is in any great novel: the surface plot (the Games), and the character arc. One needs to recognize which is the core story, and which is the catalyst for that creates context for it. In HG, the core story is the relationship between Katniss and Peeta, it’s a love story. The Games is a catalyst, and a great one, that forces them together and creates a landscape for their relationship. The plot points I identify are spot-on where they should be for this, the primary story arc. At PP1, Katniss decides once and for all that Peeta is using their relationship as a strategy, that he’ll use it to make her vulnerable and kill her, and that despite appearances she is alone. On page 72 (PP1) she declares to herself, and us, that she’s gonig to beat him at his own game… thus her journey is now fully defined, with stakes and clear opposition (Peeta). If you’re looking for the plot points from the unfolding outer tension, then you’ll be confused, because that, while unfolding in the same sequence that principles define, isn’t the core of this story. That’s the secret here: the 4-part structure applies as context for one arc (the plot), but unfolds with targeted placement for the CORE story, which is character. Sometimes the coincide and align (like the Mid-point), sometimes they don’t (like the FPP). Keep looking at it from this perspective. you’ll see it. The plot certain does have all the same milestones, but they’re in other places, which is one reason the pace fo this story remains so high, it is always pushing forward. But for a novel to be great, THIS great, it is almost always a story about a hero, and that is core of this novel. L.

  4. Jan

    Thanks! I know this must have taken a lot of time and effort to undertake this project, but I think you are doing great work with your deconstructions. It really helps me to see the stories more clearly. /J

  5. Thanks for the response. I mean accurate in a sense that I read a few beat sheets and they all had similarities so to see yours so… different really boggled my mind. That’s all. But now I understand. The milestones make sense from the love story aspect. I always thought no matter what the surface plot and character plot is (that they were combined), the milestones are the milestones. I didn’t realize there had to be a separation for the milestones. With the HG, it’s the character arc between Katniss and Peeta. I understand now. Thanks for the clarification.

  6. Thanks, this is incredible

  7. Tessa

    Hi Larry. My greatest confusion, in my own work and when I read beat sheets, is that I REALLY struggle to define what the single piece of information being presented, to move the story forward, really is. When
    a scene seems like ‘inner musings’, how do you tell? And does it really matter? ( even as I write that I know it does!!)

  8. Incredible! Thanks for posting this.
    I didn’t see anything regarding the inciting incident, so I’m hoping that will be addressed in a future post.

  9. Shaun

    I thought the inciting incident and hook were the same?

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  12. The hooking moment comes very early in the story, recommended within the first 10 pages for a regular length novel. It serves to get the reader interested enough to “buy” the book.

  13. margret baillie shipp

    Thank you for posting this example, it’s truly helpful