The writer’s toolbox is a varied thing. Each and every writer has different ideas of what to put in one. That is a topic for another time however. What I wanna talk about today is beat sheets. You know, those worksheets one can use to help know where your story is going, help create an outline. Not that I use one of those… I am a pantser, but I do like to have a bit of knowledge of my story, a bit of structure.
I have been doing a ton of looking around the web lately for those wonderful little helpers. Of course I never find what I like, what I think is the best, but I do take the best of what I find and create my perfect worksheets.
What about you? Do you use any prefab worksheets to learn things about your up and coming novel? Do you use them after you have your WIP up and running? Or do you create your own outline? Or pants the heck out of it? What is your process?
14 thoughts on “Beat Sheets and Writing Helpers”
I usually make an outline. I’ve tried many times to use character worksheets, but they never help. The best thing is to develop characters from scratch and get to know them so well that you don’t need a character worksheet as a reference.
my stories all revolved around the character. I always know the character before I ever get around to writing the story they are telling me. That said, I do use character sheets, but only so far as that way I have a reference guide for all my characters at any given moment. My character sheet is my own creation though, not something I found online somewhere *grins*. That said, I have also come to love Hivewords, which gives you some of those features and an at a glance page which I love to use while writing!
Ooh, I’ll have to try Hivewords!
Hivewords is epic!!! I actually recently purchased the “book” that goes with it and am I ever glad I did! Talk about something that is great! Totally worth the money I put out! You can use it over and over with different storylines and having some of those questions helps to redirect your writing in a way that will be more solid, not to mention helping when you get stuck or don’t know what comes next!
I’m constantly evolving my process. I’ve made my own info blank sheets in scriv. Keep it in one place. I have checklists and everything. I’m adding and taking away what works or what doesn’t.
I’m also finding that doing all the work on front end, creates higher word counts on the actual writing project. I’m trying to go all out and pre-plan everything before July Camp Nano. We’ll see how everything turns out. 😉
I too constantly evolve my process! Thanks to NaNo I have learned so many things that work, and don’t work for me in my writing process.
I don’t use scriv, but I have thought of trying it on for size, see what I think. I do however use things like Yarny and Hivewords. Both are online and free to use, making them my go to choices because I always have access to my writing even when I am “on the road”!
What type of checklists do you use? I think that is an intriguing idea, I love me some checklists!
I totally agree with doing much of the structure building before you begin really ups the actual word count! I like to preplan some, but really I have to write what I am coming to call a treatment of my story first. Taking that I build the actual story from there. For me it has proven to work the best. I can build some pretty great ‘beats’ using that.
Good luck with the preplanning for camp! Hope that works out great for you!
I’m definitely a pantser. However I’ve just discovered the wonders of Scrivener and the neat little filing cards I can make for each chapter (of my novel that’s already written) so in essence I’ve written an outline after the fact. I’m finding it’s giving me a chance to see where I’m missing info, and where I’m being redundant. Basically, it’s helping me write a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. Really cool. 🙂
Oh, that is a really cool feature!!! That just might make me need to get it! *grins* I already use the “index card” method. Of course I mostly do that after I have written a “treatment” of a sort. My treatment is mostly just a freewrite of the story as it comes to me, that then needs a ton of info added.
I wish I could do that. I have a habit of writing down every detail I can think of and then I have to edit half of it out as irrelevant. I should try it your way next time. 🙂 Thanks for the idea!
I use Yarny and that helps me a ton with all the “extra” details!
I’ll look it up – thanks! 🙂
Yes- an evolving process allows for nimbleness of creativity. Great blog. Great discussions!
Thanks much! Yes I rather love the sharing of ideas… it means that we can all learn of new resources and ideas!
Such generous thoughts! Thanks, R