Leo's Angel Oak Tree

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


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?


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

  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:)

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

  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.