Radical Approaches to Writing, Appendix A (Beats)

The beats of a story are the big, important points and the critical moments. Like nails driven into posts, beats are what you tie the clotheslines of a story to so that you can get from the beginning to the middle and the middle to the end. Fill out as many beats as you can. If you have to leave one blank because you don’t know, don’t “beat” yourself up. Oh, and always use pencil when filling out the beat sheet. It’s going to change as time goes on.

Here’s a translation of the beats as they appear in many books:

















By jenmichellemason

Jenny is a story hunter. She has explored foreign countries, canyon mazes, and burial crypts to gather the facts that make good stories. Once, she sniffed a 200-year-old skull...for research purposes. Jenny received an M.Phil from Trinity College Dublin and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. She has authored nearly 20 STEM books for young readers. Her inquisitive and funny nonfiction articles have appeared in Mountain Flyer, Cobblestone, and Muse magazines. Jenny also works as a freelance copy writer for nonprofits and small businesses.

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