Stealing A Beat Sheet #amwriting

beat sheetSpecifically, I got this beat sheet from Blake Snyder, of Save The Cat. If you haven’t read the blog dedicated to his theories, I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t write screenplays, what he has to say about writing is most useful.

In my everlasting quest for the easy way out learning new writing techniques, I copied this beat sheet from Mr. Snyder. It is, indeed, a thing of value.

The numbers in parentheses are the number of script pages one should take for these things to happen. The explanations are the ones I use for myself.





1. Opening Image (1): BOOM

2. Theme Stated (5): What’s the story about, underneath the plot? Don’t state it, show it, at least with hints, by pretty early on.

3. Set-Up (1-10): Who, what, when, where, why

4. Catalyst (12): a.k.a. (Also Known As) The Inciting Incident — what gets the story/protagonist moving?

5. Debate (12-25): What should be done? The debate can be internal, external, or both.

6. Break into Two (25) Everything changes. Setting change, time passes, something is different.

7. B Story (30): Subplot

8. Fun and Games (30-55): Things seem to be going well.

9. Midpoint (55): Everything crosses paths.

10. Bad Guys Close In (55-75): Says it all, doesn’t it?

11. All Is Lost (75): SEEMINGLY. Things seem to be going ill.

12. Dark Night of the Soul (75-85): There seems no hope. This is where the protagonist finds out what he or she is made of. Sometimes, this is where the ANTAGONIST finds out the same thing.

13. Break into Three (85): Another change.

14. Finale (85-110): Bada bing, bada boom

15. Final Image (110): Jane! Boy! Look at Cheetah! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Outline a story using this beat sheet.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Stealing A Beat Sheet #amwriting

  1. Jane

    August 25, 2014 at 9:04am

    Right there on one page to stare at as you work!

    Alway likes me a good Tarzan reference!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      August 25, 2014 at 1:48pm

      That’s what I thought, too, Jane — USEFUL! Glad you enjoyed the Tarzan; that’s what I always think of when they talk about final image. That, or, “GILLIGAN!”

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Adi

    August 26, 2014 at 1:23am

    Really nice post! Really nice beat shee.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      August 26, 2014 at 1:33pm

      It’s a good way to think about story before starting to write, even if you don’t actually write things down. Organization is what I need, and this is a good tool for that.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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