Last week, we talked about how templates could come in handy for blog posts, but is there such a thing as a template for short stories, novellas or novels?
“Nope,” some of you would say. “How could there be, when there are so many different genres, sub-genres, types of characters and settings? There’s no way there can be a template for all those!”
Good point, but… There are certain elements that are present in each story. This is where beat sheets come in. They are lists, reminding you what should be in a short story/novella/novel, and when it should happen. You are free to move some of the beats (events) around, of course, but ultimately, they’d take you from Moment One to Two to Three to The End seamlessly.
“But, Dilyana, won’t that make my story too formulaic?”
Again, good point – you will be following a formula, but as you previously pointed out (well, as I imagined you previously pointing out), there are so many different genres, sub-genres, types of characters and settings that yes, your story will be similar to other people’s, but you can also give it your own spin.
And, after all, even without a beat sheet, you’ll end up writing something similar to someone else’s work; that’s inevitable, and not a bad thing.
The beat sheet will just be there to guide you, to remind you what would make your story richer and more coherent.
So, where do you find these beat sheets?
Well, there’s this great place called The Mighty Internet. It’s a vast place so I’ll save you some time going through it by posting a list of good beat sheets that are available online as the next Tuesday Tiny Writing Tip.
That’s all for today, but if you’ve used beat sheets before, feel free to link them in the comments.