Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In Honor of Blake Snyder:

Master of the Beat Sheet by Marilyn Brant

It's been over a year, but I still can't believe we lost the genius mind of Blake Snyder. It was far too soon... But even though he died so young, I personally owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude when it comes to novel-writing structure. I love reading about writing craft and have tons of reference books on the subject. But, until I came upon his Save the Cat! series (particularly Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies), I didn't have an outlining system for writing fiction that I trusted.

Blake's 15-point "Beat Sheet"? THAT I trust. And while I still have to do a lot of work in between each of those points (Friday Mornings at Nine took me a full 10 months of writing, even after I used the Beat Sheet...), I feel confident I won't go too far off track if I take time to address every step included on his sheet.

So, for those not familiar with it, you're asking how does it work, right? Well, Blake took a look at TONS of successful films and analyzed their structure. From that, he figured out the key stages of most movies/screenplays, named them (i.e., "Opening Image," "Theme Stated," etc.) and then showed the approximate page number where that stage would show up in a typical 110-page screenplay. An explanation of each of the 15 points is here in this Suite 101 interview with Blake, And on his website, there's a place for "tools" with excellent downloads, including a Beat Sheet you can use: http://www.blakesnyder.com/tools/.

What I decided to do, though, was to look up in one of Blake's books 2 movies that were as different as I could imagine and compare them structurally to show these stages in action. The films I chose were one of my all-time favorites in romantic comedy -- When Harry Met Sally -- and the popular Bruce Willis thriller -- Die Hard! In my opinion, both of these are excellent, well-structured stories. Even though they were written as screenplays instead of novels, I still learned a whole lot that was -- for me -- directly applicable to writing a book. At one point, I even went so far as to multiply the page numbers by 3 so I'd get a sense of where each stage would fall in a 330-page/100K-word novel ( i.e., If the "Catalyst" lands on page 12 of a screenplay, it should come in at approximately page 36 of my book).

Taking a look at just this first beat of the Beat Sheet -- the Opening Image -- it's page #1 of the script and the first scene of the film. In When Harry Met Sally, actors pretending to be "real" couples share with the camera how they met. Meanwhile, in Die Hard, a NYC cop is being advised by his seatmate on "how to survive traveling" as their airplane lands in LA. You can see how these well-known movies progress though every one of Blake's beats, right down to the "Final Image." Cool, huh?!

1. Opening Image (1): "Real" couples talking about how they met/A plane lands at LAX, and NYC gun-carrying cop Bruce Willis is being advised by a businessman onboard "how to survive traveling"

2. Theme Stated (5): Impossible for a man and woman to be friends/"Survival" is the theme and Bruce’s mission

3. Set-Up (1-10): We meet Harry and Sally--they’re totally different types--but they have to drive from Chicago to NYC together/The boss at Nakatomi Plaza wishes his employees a Merry Christmas, including Bonnie Bedelia’s character, who is on the verge of divorce from Bruce; Bruce explains to limo driver that his wife had a good job that turned into a great career, but now they’re unhappily bicoastal; Bruce and Bonnie get into a fight and a mystery truck arrives at the Plaza

4. Catalyst (12): They part in NYC saying "have a nice life"/A dozen robbers posing as terrorists lock down the building and crash the party

5. Debate (12-25): 5 years later, Harry sees Sally kissing boyfriend goodbye at airport and Harry is engaged to be married--they’re still REALLY different and decide they’re not at all right for each other/Alerted to the commotion, Bruce grabs his gun and begins to assess the situation--he is spotted by the bad guys

6. Break into Two (25): 5 years later, Harry is getting divorced and Sally has broken up with her boyfriend, they decide to try to become friends/Bruce is the "lone defender of the fort"--he tries to get the cops to help by pulling the fire alarm (they think it’s a hoax), but he soon realizes he’ll have to stop the bad guys alone

7. B Story (30): Harry and Sally’s 2 friends and their eventual love story--the friends talk about the film’s theme/An LAPD Sergeant arrives to check on fire alarm and gets involved--finally cops are on the way

8. Fun and Games (30-55): Harry and Sally hang out as friends--shopping, eating in the deli, talking, finding solace in each other’s company/Bruce is fighting bad guys, being chased, rolling down stairs, breaking necks, etc.

9. Midpoint (55): A New Year’s Eve party when they realize they’re falling for each other--they kiss as friends and try to set the other person up with their best buds/Using a bad guy’s walkie-talkie, Bruce contacts head baddie, who gets worried and asked his thieving crew how much longer it’ll take them to crack the safe

10. Bad Guys Close In (55-75): While out with Sally, Harry sees his ex-wife out with her new boyfriend, realizes his dating life is terrible and takes his anger out on Sally and their friends/Pressure builds with this new time clock; Bruce has an ally in the Sergeant, but Sergeant’s boss thinks Bruce is one of the bad guys; FBI arrives

11. All Is Lost (75): When Sally calls Harry because she finds out her ex is getting married, they make a mistake and fall into bed together--it’s the "death" of their friendship/Bad guy leader (pretending to be a civilian) and Bruce bump into each other, and bad guy learns Bruce is barefoot (a weakness)--tells baddies to shoot out the glass--bad guys get the detonators back

12. Dark Night of the Soul (75-85): Despite the joy of confessing their deed to their 2 friends (who are now a couple), Sally and Harry realize their error/Bruce laments he’s done all he can; Sergeant reveals via walkie-talkie that he made past mistakes too

13. Break into Three (85): They both decide to tell the other they made a mistake, hoping it’ll save their friendship/Bad guys open vault and get ready to escape, but when Bonnie is exposed as Bruce’s wife, she’s taken as a hostage; Bruce must save her

14. Finale (85-110): The A and B stories cross as Harry and Sally attend the wedding of their friends and they fight, but on this New Year’s Eve Harry races through NYC to tell Sally he loves her and they kiss/Bruce jumps into action to rescue hostages and rescue his wife, even without the help of the cops; he outsmarts and kills the bad guy then kisses his wife

15. Final Image (110): Harry and Sally finally tell the story of how they met/Bruce meets and hugs the Sergeant (who, in killing the final bad guy, is helped to get over his past mistake); Bruce takes his wife home

Hope some of you will find this helpful as you do your own novel plotting ;). Many thanks to Tina and the wonderful Seekers for inviting me visit today! Wishing you all a great week!


Marilyn Brant's debut novel, According to Jane, won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart® Award, a Single Titles' Reviewers' Choice Award and the Booksellers' Best Award for best single-title/mainstream novel. Her new novel, Friday Mornings at Nine, is a featured alternate selection in October 2010 for both the Doubleday Book Club and the Book-of-the-Month Club 2. She lives with her family in Chicago and is currently writing her third women's fiction book, due out in fall 2011, and trying to eat foods other than chocolate all day. Readers can visit her at www.marilynbrant.com.

Today Marilyn is giving away TWO ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) of Friday Mornings at Nine to two Seekerville visitors who post a comment. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Absolutely fascinating!!!

Loved this


Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

I will never think of those two movies in the same way again. :-P

XOXO~ Renee

Marilyn Brant said...

Cheryl~I'm so glad you liked it!! Thank you ;).

Renee~Who knew they were actually so similar structurally, right? Blake was amazing!

Tina and all the Seekers~Hi!! It's after midnight where I am, so I'll be back in the morning :-). Looking forward to spending the day with all of you!

Lisa Jordan said...

I love the breakdown of the scenes. Makes so much sense. Love the cover of Friday Mornings at Nine.

Thanks so much for sharing!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I've got the coffee pots on and the Keurig is available with multiple flavors, Dudes! Dig in...

Also: apple season in upstate NY, so we've got apple danish, apple pie and apple crisp, sure to delight.

Nothing healthy. It's back to it week, back to work, back to grind, back to focus and Marilyn, DEAR HEART!!!! What a great way to bring us into September and a strong fall work ethic. Brilliant. Wonderful. But then I'm not a bit surprised by that!

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Good morning Marilyn and SEEKERVILLE.

Ruthy thanks for the spread.

I am excited to get my brain wrapped around this process.

So many gems at the Blake Snyder website too.

Hey, M tell us about the new release please and thank you. Where in the recesses of your brain did this one come from?

Patty said...

Great post--I love anything that explains plotting in such simple terms!

And using my favorite movie of all times(When Harry met Sally) just makes it better.


Melanie Dickerson said...

Awesome! Need to get me a beat sheet. I need some help with figuring out my next two books, just as soon as I have time to write again! Who knew having a book come out would speed up your life to the point that you wouldn't have time to sleep! Not that I'm complaining! :-)

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Marilyn! Congratulations on your success! Thanks for sharing Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet and links. I love craft books. A deadline forced me to put away Blake's Save the Cat. Time to open it again.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Marilyn and thanks for coming to Seekerville and sharing the Beat Sheet.

I went to a Blake Snyder workshop and like you, was immensely helped by studying movies and screenwriting.
Helped me move from telling to showing.

YOu did a great job illustrating it here. This is definitely a keeper.

Like Lisa, I loved the cover of your book.

And Ruthy, those New England apples are the best. And all the yummy things you made with them. yum
I bet some apple cider would taste good too.

Edie Ramer said...

This is brilliant! I have both his Save the Cat books, but didn't use the beats for my book. I thought that what worked in a movie might not work in a book. But as I read your summaries, I realized the scenes in Cattitude matched the beats.

I'm afraid to see if the page lengths match, even tripling his numbers. Do you do those, too?

KC Frantzen said...

Yee hah!

Outstanding information. The Christian Writers Guild course helped me along these lines. And Sandra Byrd helped cement the idea for me by saying something like, "You need Oh No's."

Now when we watch a movie at home, we find ourselves saying "Oh NO!" out loud. (It's amazing how many there are... showing Scene- or Chapter - break!)

We just watched Legally Blonde for the 5th time. It's all there.

Fantastic that you compared these 2 films - I need a LOT of repetition to "get it" but I'm getting there.

I'd not heard of the Beat sheet before - will definitely be reading more about it.

Thank you and all the very best to you on your latest. Wonderful cover. Would love to win an adv. copy!

may at maythek9spy dot com

Thanks for b'fast Ruthy - YUM.

And Melanie - SO exciting - do share!!

Go forth and write everyone. Enjoy your day!

Julie Lessman said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Marilyn, and WOW, this is pretty darn fascinating. I am sorry to say this is the first I have heard of Blake Snyder and his amazing book, but it won't be the last! Thank you for the great insight.


Mary Connealy said...

I'd never heard the term beat sheet before.

I love the way that sets up the basic scene and how the two movies compare.

Thanks for being on, Marilyn.

Pepper Basham said...

What a wonderful post. The link to Blake's beat sheet was fantastic too.
Thank you, thank you. I'm printing this off. Thanks for the examples, that really helps me 'see' how I can use this tool to set up (or fix) my novels.

This is also a good reminder of which things I'm doing 'right' and where my weaker links are in story creation.

Welcome to Seekerville.


Marilyn Brant said...

Lisa~thanks re: the cover! I love it, too, and am so impressed by what those brilliant cover artists can do!

Ruthy~you made us breakfast!!! Thanks, hon! Mmmm...apple danish and coffee... {hug!}

Tina~thank YOU! Okay, the new book... This story is about 3 suburban 40-something moms who meet every Friday morning for coffee. One day in September, one of the women confesses to her friends that she's been getting emails from her college ex (the guy she *thought* she was going to marry 18 years ago), and it leads all of them to more consciously wonder about the state of their marriages and whether or not they married the right man...or if there might be a better match for them out there. The story is not so much about the concept of *cheating*, though, as it is about honestly *choosing*. That to be fully committed to a marriage requires the women to know themselves well enough to make a true decision.

Tina Pinson said...

thanks for coming by today.

Blake Snyder's name and beats are all new to me, too.
I've tried several things to organize my thoughts...

whoa that's scary. cause they're all over the place.

...I had a hard time utilizing the sheets getting down my points. (the snowflake, liquid story binder, among others) So I stuck to what I knew, the seat of my pants and short outline. But I still give them a go from time to time. Actually, its the working through all the information that is daunting.

I may have to check into this a bit further to see if I can follow this route.


Marilyn Brant said...

Patty~I love, love, love "When Harry Met Sally..." too! It's so funny, yet so very honest. It's been 20 years, and I can still watch it over and over again ;).

Melanie~the same thing happened to me last fall when my debut book came out...I don't think I slept for most of Sept. and Oct. (I'm trying to be healthier this year.) HUGE congrats on the books, though!! YAY!

Janet~good luck with your deadline!! I'm sending you fast-writing vibes ;).

Sandra~thank you! Blake explained it all so well, didn't he? I realize not every plotting model can help every writer -- I'm so glad there are so many choices out there for us -- but, for me, this one made the most intuitive sense. Probably because I love movies so much :-).

Edie~thanks for visiting me here! I am SO looking forward to reading Cattitude! As for using the page numbers x3...I figure them out at the beginning, but mostly just as a guideline. I don't think I've ever had even half of them match, but I do try to keep to the order of the beats. And, as I'm looking through this new wip to see places where I can cut unnecessary scenes, I'll pay special attention to the sections that seemed to run long (i.e., my "bad guys close in" part of the novel is quite a bit longer than the 60 pgs. it would have been had I kept to the recommended length).

Lorna said...

This was fascinating, Marilyn. Thanks for sharing it. The beat sheet makes me want to go analyze a bunch of movies and books. Thanks for sharing it.

Marilyn Brant said...

KC~I love that idea of there being "Oh No's" for scene/chapter breaks! Great term!!

Julie~thanks so much for the welcome! If a few writers find the beat sheet breakdown to be even a little helpful, I'll be thrilled. It's been such a help for me ;).

Mary~thank you!! It was really fun comparing the two films -- I didn't think two storylines could be more different (!!), but the spine underneath them surprised me by being so similar :-).

Rain Maiden said...

It blows me away to see how much work goes into a book. They really are labor's of love.

Pamela Cayne said...

You know I'm a fellow Beat Sheet fan, so it was wonderful to see these two movies broken down using it. Thanks, Marilyn!

Marilyn Brant said...

Pepper~I'm so glad it was useful! Again, I know this structural tool isn't for everyone (I only write a couple of sentences for each beat when I'm plotting) but, as someone who *needs* to see the forest before I can fully delve into a description of the trees (*g*), this gives me that overview... Good luck with your novels!

Tina P.~if you've got a system that works well for you, that's fabulous! I'd only use this one if you thought it might help... I know there are other methods I've tried that just confused me, but they were hugely successful for other writers. (The snowflake was one that was hard for me, too, btw. ;) So, really, the beat sheet is just one more option to have available.

Lorna~thanks! And I'll join you on the movie watching/analyzing!! I've been on deadline and have a bunch of movies I'd love to watch... Off to make popcorn ;).

Marilyn Brant said...

Rain Maiden~LOL!! Yes, it's kinda crazy, isn't it?! Thanks so much for visiting! It's wonderful to see you here ;).

Pamela~I *know* you're a Blake fan, too!! Thanks so much, my friend :-).

Cindy Martin said...

Ok, this concept is new to me and fascinating. I think it may be just what gets me "unstuck" in the structure of my first project.

Thank you so much for sharing such specific examples, too. I will definitely be checking out the website you mentioned.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...


Friday Mornings at Nine sounds intriguing.

Life is all about choices.

And the cover is gorgeous.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

I actually am very excited about delving into the Beat Sheet concept..

but I must admit I was a little relieved that your story took you 8 months to write.

Thank you not everyone writes a book in a weekend.

So tell me, you sounded like 8 months was longer than you anticipated...

What went on in the process of this story?

PatriciaW said...

Interesting especially since I'm a bit stuck in my wip and I was thinking it might be helpful to go back to the beginning and do a high-level outline.

When I think about it, this may be why some movies, even when they're not a preferred genre, are watchable, if not enjoyable. Intrinsically, we're looking for these 15 beats for the story to feel complete and for us to be satisfied.

KC, I just watched Legally Blonde too, which I love.

Kirsten Arnold said...

Fascinating post, Marilyn, and thanks for the Blake Snyder links!

Great information!


Patsy said...

great info! Also I know the books will be great! Looking forward to reading them. Thanks for giving away a copy.

Angela Bell said...

Great post! :)


Debby Giusti said...

I feel very fortunate to have attended one of Blake Synder's workshops. Such a mind for story! Yes, I have Save the Cat, but haven't studied it as I should have. Thanks for providing such great insight into his Beat Sheet!

I'm going back to reread STC!

Congrats on your writing success! So glad you could be with us today.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Marilyn, this is a fabulous post! Thank you, thank you. I'm always looking for new ways of looking at story. I'm going to copy this and print it out and compare for my next book. cheers~

Myra Johnson said...

Marilyn, so glad to have you in Seekerville, and thanks for your explanation of the beat sheet and the informative comparison. It always helps to see how a method like this plays out in an actual storyline.

I'm in the SOTP camp, however, so anything too "plotty" starts making my eyes glaze over. However, I can see how this could be a great tool even for writers like me so that we can make sure we have included the right elements in the right order for best effect.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

While I am a pantser I have discovered the beauty of being a planner and so I lean between pantser and plotter now.

I'm sure Vince will appreciate the Blake Snyder beats.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...


Tell us what is coming up for you in the future ie, what book is on your back burner.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Babies are asleep, I'm creeping back in to see if anyone's giving Marilyn a hard time.

She's tough, she can take it.

Marilyn Brant said...

Back from running errands!! Yikes, the day is flying... ;)

Cindy~I truly hope it'll help you get unstuck! If nothing else, sometimes it's nice to see the structure underneath popular films and stories...

Tina~*TEN* months, honey. Not 8, 10 -- but who's counting?! :) I love hearing about people who can write a book in a weekend or even in a month. It's inspiring to read about. It's not remotely possible in my case, though -- LOL.

In Friday Mornings, there were three protagonists, so I had to work with their individual storylines as well as the times when they interacted as a group. I felt like a choreographer! And even though the book was 110k, I still wished for more words, more space to explore some aspects of each woman's story... It felt like a big project to tackle at the time -- and it was!

Marilyn Brant said...

Patricia~I feel the same way! I do think we intrinsically recognize classic story structure and, for me, finding it is very satisfying ;). As writers, trying to be as original as we can be within it is always a big task, but I really appreciate having a few guideposts along the journey!

Kirsten~glad you liked it, and you're very welcome!

Patsy~oh, thank you! I hope you'll enjoy them ;).

Angela~hello! Thanks for stopping by!

Debby~it's *always* a pleasure to visit with you awesome Seekers!! Thanks for having me back ;).

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh my stars, you're all being so STINKIN' nice.

Obviously there's a chocolate stash somewhere and you've all been partaking. Marilyn, really, even TEEEEENA's being nice, and it's like her lunch '10 minutes' or something, so wow....

Anyone who impresses TEEEENA wins my heart by association.

Except that According to Jane already did that. What a fun twist on an old fave. Just wonderful and ingenious.

So the new book, Friday Mornings at Nine...

Is it funny? Because if you want me to read about 3 40-somethings I better get two laughs for each poignant moment. Maybe three.

And 8 months/book is 3 books in two years. Not bad 'tall.

And I'm sending you hugs right back since we didn't meet up in Orlando. Dagnabbit.

Mmmm..... Okay, lunch. Chicken salad with bits of apple on a bed of lettuce. Grapes on side. Spring mix salad with chopped almonds, cherry tomatoes, bacon and raspberry vinegarette (I spelled that wrong, didn't I? Fix it, Connealy, there's a good girl...)

Homemade rolls with fresh whipped butter, soft, because I HATE cold butter on soft, chewy rolls. There really ought to be a law against it, doncha' think?

And fresh peach pie for dessert, the last of the peaches I think. And it's never as good with canned. BUT... Perry's Vanilla ice cream alongside.

Oh my.

Marilyn Brant said...

First of all, sorry to jump ahead but, RUTHY (!!), you crack me up! Yes, yes, everyone is being *really* nice to me today, but I refuse to question it ;-). It's just because you're all either (1) a big bunch of sweeties or (2) you hide your mean-streak tendencies incredibly well. Hey, I'm not judging, I'm just grateful -- LOL!

Okay, having some of this delicious chicken salad for lunch, those homemade rolls and, ohhhh, peach pie with ice cream (I eat a LOT when I'm here...)

Back to these wonderful comments:

Nancy~you've shared with me so many fabulous writing craft ideas, I'm so glad I could return the favor!

Myra~this writing gig is so tough, if it helps, even a little, it's worth looking at :). I will say, though I like to have a few sentences for each of the 15 beats, those pages and pages in between are (a lot of the time) SOTP scenes for me. In some ways, the beat sheet is what makes me feel less stressed about my pantser side -- just knowing there's some structure in there somewhere ;).

Will be back in a few minutes to answer Tina's great question about what's coming up... Must get more pie first. And grapes!

Marilyn Brant said...

Tina~you asked what's coming up... I'm trying to finish that project in question -- this week, actually! ;)

The title is about to change again -- not sure what it'll be -- but I've been calling the book The Grand European for the past year. It's about a modern 30-year-old woman who goes on an "A Room with a View"-like trip to Europe with her eccentric elderly aunt and her aunt's sudoku and mahjongg club ;). There, she has adventures (of course!), including meeting a British man who's not remotely like her almost-fiance back home and eating a lot of gelato and linguini. Write what you know -- that's what I always say!!

I just finished it (finally -- this one took another 10 months) and I'm now trying to get the English slang and expressions right so the UK readers don't strangle me. It comes out next fall, and I definitely used the beat sheet to structure it. (Doing that in advance also helped me to be able to write the synopsis for my editor -- a big plus because those are hard for me.)

Pepper Basham said...

We think Ruthy carries a big enough mean-streak for the rest of us - that's all.

She comes bringing food as a cover.
Ever seen she and Walt duke it out?
Scary :-)
Btw, Ruthy - I'm on chpt 7 of MTOF :-)

Missy Tippens said...

Marilyn, I love Blake's Beat Sheet! Thanks for sharing the examples. I've read Save the Cat and Save...Goes to the Movies. Love them both!!

Thanks so much for being with us today!

Brittany Roshelle said...

Loved According to Jane, can't wait to read this!!

Mary Connealy said...

I don't know exactly what you mean by 'break into three'. Break into two made sense. I'll go re-read it, but if you can put that into different words, I'd appreciate it.

Shannon McKelden said...

That's awesome, Marilyn! It hit me really hard when Blake died, too. I need to revisit his books and see if I can really dig deeper into my own plotting techniques.

Can't wait for the your new book! Congrats!

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

I am volunteering to go to Europe with you to further your language studies for your manuscript.

I pack light.

karenk said...

would love to read this novel...

and i enjoyed this posting...facinating :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Marilyn Brant said...

LOL, Pepper! It's clear you know Ruthy well :).

Missy~you're so welcome! I'm delighted to have gotten to spend the day with so many people who are interested in the beat sheets, too ;).

Brittany~thank you!! I'm thrilled you liked JANE and have my fingers crossed you'll like this one as well!

Mary~oh, great question! "Break into Two" and "Break into Three" refer to the acts of the story (Act 2 and Act 3 of a typical 3-act film). There's the first act (with the opening image and going through to step 5/debate), then you break into the second act, which is a turning point in the story (taking you from that turning point until step 12/dark night of the soul).

The second act is twice as long as both the first and third acts, which is why the midpoint is in the middle of the second act, and that, too, is considered a turning point. Finally, you break into three (the third act), which is your last major turning point before heading into the action at the end of the book.

Did I help or did I make it more confusing?! :)

Marilyn Brant said...

Shannon~it's wonderful to see you here!!! Thank you SO much for stopping by ;).

Karen~thanks! I really hope you'll like it!

Tina~if I could go to Europe for a research-related getaway (or, heck, ANY kind of getaway!) I would take you along with me in a heartbeat ;).

Thank you all again for having me here today! I'll still be popping in throughout the week to answer any questions that might come up or just to say hi to anyone who stops by, but it was such a pleasure to be here in Seekerville!! xoxoxo

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Marilyn, as always a pleasure...and I can't wait for your new book to arrive in my hot little hands.

mariska said...

Hi Marilyn, you are a new for me author. really like to have the chance to read your works :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the plotting concept. If fits well with the fiction writing for dummies by Ron Benrey. He has 13 points, but they are close. Very helpful! I'm just getting ready to plot my second novel. Can't believe it!
Jenn Fromke

Sandy Elzie said...

Great article. Being familiar with both films, I was able to follow along and understand.

Now I'm wondering if his books are still available...I'll have to check.



Sarah said...

Thank you for the chance to win:)

Wendy said...

Thanks for offering the book. Good blog.

Marilyn Brant said...

Mariska~thank you! So nice of you to say that ;).

Jenn~oh, congrats on that! Good luck with the second book!! (And thanks for telling me about the other plotting technique, too. :)

Sandy~I'm pretty sure both books are still on the bookstore shelves and, also, there was a 3rd and final one that came out (Save the Cat Strikes Back, I think that's the title??)

Sarah~thanks for stopping by!

Wendy~thanks to you, too! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post ;).

Laura Rachel Fox said...

A helpful post. Thanks for sharing.

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks, Laura! I'm so glad you found it helpful!!

barbjan10 said...

Tina, you've blown me away with the information in your post. I'll never look at a movie the same way again. I'll be sitting with a notebook (beat sheet) on my lap from now on..and like a recording machine try to take down everything that might be a tip or teaching point. Thanks for sharing Blake Snyder's links and theories. I will take advantage of what I learned from you.

Marilyn, My stack of TBR books gets taller and taller, but I must read your book asap. Hearing what the story is about reminds me of a real happening in my own life. I'm anxious to find out how this woman handled her situation. In my own, I'm thankful to God that he spoke loudly to me about the consequences before I foolishly made some gigantic mistakes. Thanks for offering the book for giveaway and Tina, I appreciate the chance to win...I hope I do!!

Sharing God's Love,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Barb, this is all Marilyn. Not me. And I too stand in awe of her!!!

Marilyn Brant said...

Barb~I'm thrilled you found the beat sheet so helpful!! Thank you for taking the time to read through all the information. May it prove very helpful to you in your writing. And I really hope you'll like Friday Mornings at Nine, too!!

Tina~We're a mutual admiration society, my dear. I heart you ;).

Lisa Marie Miles said...

I'm late to the game here, but great post! I read Blake's first two books a few years ago, when I was writing screenplays. I've since switched to writing YA novels, and have always wondered if I could use his books for novels. Now I know:)

Marilyn Brant said...

Lisa, I'm seeing this late, too, but I just wanted to say thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment. Good luck with your YAs! (And, as I'm sure you've guessed, I definitely think Blake's beat sheet is *really* applicable to novel writing. ;)