Friday, July 1, 2011

The Most Interesting Thing I Learned This Week: Sometimes People Lie

"Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom." 
~Thomas Jefferson

Hugging an adolescent Fir. I'm an Oregon native. Truth.

People lie. I've known that sorry truth for most of my life, but what I learned this week is that sometimes people lie accidentally. And now it's confession time.

Last week in that post about being a planter, I said I didn't outline, right? That wasn't entirely true.

Before we took off on this Monday's Plot Walk and Tree Hugging Adventure, I felt lost in my WIP, baffled as to where the story needed to go. Then I remembered a very important document I'd prepared before I started this draft. Eureka!

Waiting patiently in my WIP folder was one of my favorite writing tools, a beat sheet from Blake Snyder's fabulous screenwriting manual, SAVE THE CAT. Not exactly an outline, but a helpful plotting device with 15 structure points designed to help a writer keep the reader resonating with the story. Using this tool, writers are encouraged to start with a memorable opening image and end, logically, with a final image that's the opposite of the opening.

So beginning this week, it's time for Fun and Games in Occupied Paris.

Put on your dancing shoes!

What about you? Do you have any favorite craft-related books or tips?


  1. I just bought that book but haven't read it yet. I do outline plot points and I love the idea of an ending opposite of the beginning. Cool. Will have to crack the book!

  2. Two of my favorite writing books are Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell. There are others, but I look at those the most.

  3. Get cracking, JRo.
    Thanks for the recs, Ava.

  4. I'm so glad you reminded me about this beat sheet. I had seen it before but didn't print it out. Thanks!

    I'm a HUGE fan of James Scott Bell's PLOT & STRUCTURE. I'm like a crazy groupie or something.

    Good luck on your project!

  5. Sounds like I need to get my hands on Bell's books.

  6. I've never actually read a book on writing--I probably should.

    Thanks for the link!

  7. Question -- just downloaded The Beat Sheet. What do the numbers in ( ) mean? I just read a great blog post about getting out a fast first draft. Tell me what you think.


Tell me what you think: