15 Story Beats to Keep Your NaNoWriMo Novel on Track

Regardless of whether you’re a plotter or pantser, you might come to a place mid-month where your story feels like it’s gone off the rails. A lot of people will tell you to plow through! Just keep writing! It’ll work itself out! But I think better advice is to check in with your basic story beats. It …
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Outlining – Method 2: Active Beats (aka “Show Don’t Tell”)

Happy Archive Revive Day! It’s always helpful to refresh what we know about writing by digging up past posts and updating the information a bit, so here we go… Originally posted on Oct. 7, 2013. Updated Sept. 21, 2015 I learned this method of outlining at Ryerson University. My screenwriting professor called it a Step Outline. …
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O is for Outlines

As a screenwriter, outlines are mandatory. Not so for authors. If you’re penning a novel, it seems as if you must choose between two camps – plotter (those who outline) or pantser (those who start writing a manuscript sans outline). But it doesn’t have to be one or the other, and I think the vast …
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Back to School Writing Craft Refresher

It’s September 1st! Last week I blogged about how I was getting ready for a new year. To continue that theme, this week I’m brushing up on writing craft skills I acquired last year. Because everyone knows the first week of school is all about re-remembering what you forgot over the summer… (Click on titles to …
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Outlining – Method 3: The Wall of Sticky Notes (aka “The Board”)

If you’re a visual person, Outlining Method #3 is for you! I call it The Wall of Sticky Notes, because that’s how I build it. Others create a Corkboard of Cards. In the business of screenwriting, it’s simply called “The Board.” As you can see, it has four lines: Act I, Act II part one, …
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Story Edit Using The “Save The Cat” Basic Beats

Whatever your writing process, whether you outline or dive straight into prose, there’s one step we all must do – story edit. There are innumerable things to edit in a manuscript, but let’s start with the bones of the story. After all, adding metaphors and sensory descriptions won’t matter if the story is weak. So …
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Basic Story Beats of The Hunger Games (based on the “Save The Cat” beat sheet)

I picked HUNGER GAMES as the first novel to break down into the Basic Story Beats because I knew it had all the elements in chronological order. After all, I’d read the novel thrice and was familiar with the story. Though I was shocked to find that the Debate didn’t actually happen on the page, …
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