Leo's Angel Oak Tree

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

STORY STRUCTURE REVISITED

Okay, I must admit when I first started writing, I was not a planner. I had the story in my head from beginning to end, and I felt I didn't need to plot my story on paper.  The scenes came hard and fast. I barely had enough to write them out. Even with that said, I did do a small bit of plotting in the way of plot mapping.  I thought it was enough, but clearly it wasn't. 

This past week, I have emersed myself in a book that has literally changed my outlook on writing.  It has helped me with planning so my manuscript is healthy.  One thing I have learned in reading this fantastic book (**Yes, I will tell you the name of the book.  Give me a moment...) is that your plot structure should have a heartbeat.  Fifteen beats to be exact.  If you miss a beat, your story could die.  I don't mean to be so meladramatic, but this was a crucial A-HA moment for me. 

Okay, the book was suggested by Elana Johnson (Author of the 2011 Debut, POSSESSION), and I had to see what she was so excited about!  It's SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder (R.I.P. Mr. Snyder!).  If you haven't read it, you should.  Immediately.  I mean it. Stop reading this post and go buy yourself a copy!!


The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (Plot Structure Sequence) has transformed how I think about structure. Yes, it's a screenwriting book, but the pulse of a story really works like this.  I have been studying movies that I really like this week to see how the story unfolds structurally.  Tomorrow, I will be posting the beat sheet for my favorite movie this year: Letters To Juliet.  Stay tuned.

At the end of the week, I will be doing a contest for a copy of this fabulous book!!!!  Thanks ELANA for the great suggestion!!!

If you have read this book, what are your thoughts?

4 comments:

  1. Haven't read it, but thanks for the recommendation!

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  2. Excellent recommendation! I just posted a couple of days ago about my writing process so this book might be an excellent one for me to check out:)

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  3. Yay! I'm so glad you liked it. It really is mind-blowing and life-changing.

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  4. Lydia Sharp is always on about this, but I haven't gotten around to it.

    I used to be a hard-core pantser, but I'm somewhere in-between now. Hoping to start a rewrite of WIP1 soon, which is mostly to reorder exist scenes to maximise tension. I keep thinking that if I'd thought it all the way through I would have written it in that order 2 years ago.

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