One of my absolute favorite books on writing craft is a screenwriting book titled Save the Cat. It was written by Blake Snyder and it’s a fascinating read. Within it is my most-often-used tool, the “Beat Sheet,” which gives a basic plot of the beats that happen in a film or, for my purposes, a story.
It’s really cool how adaptable the beat sheet is to novel writing. So adaptable, in fact, that novelist Jessica Brody wrote Save the Cat Writes a Novel, which talks all about it. I actually purchased Save the Cat Writes a Novel for myself–twice (forgetting I’d already bought it once)–but I haven’t yet read it! (I have a problem with purchasing more writing craft books than I have time to read.)
Still, I depend on that beat sheet to the point where I know I’ve internalized it. Every new story idea gets plotted this way. Whether I’m always successful or not, I have no idea, but I can definitely say that writing this way has helped me immensely.
Have you heard of Blake Snyder’s books?