Beat Sheet for a Novel is the #1 post on this blog. Meaning it gets viewed every day, but is it helpful? Beats me.
In an effort to be useful, I thought I’d share my BEAT SHEET MINI. This is a quick fill in the blank beat sheet you can use to beat out any film, screenplay, or novel.
The (#s) are minute marks at which events happen. For example, the midpoint of a movie/screenplay occurs around minute/page 55.
Novels, being longer than screenplays, tend to stick to the script only for the first few beats— you get the opening image on page 1, a theme by page 5 or so, and you’re well into the set-up by page 10.
After this, books get more longwinded with each beat. No page 55 midpoints. We’d be disappointed if there were. But it just so happens in The Truth of Me (reviewed yesterday), a 114 page children’s book, the turning point comes in the last sentence on page 55. Patricia MacLachlan must be a Blake Snyder fan!
I use the BEAT SHEET MINI for two things:
- As a bookmark, to keep track of key plot points of novels I read
- As a mini-outline, for fleshing out a story idea I might write
Here’s the PDF:
Let me know in the comments if and how you use it.