“Save the Cat” Beat Sheet


This past month flew by with writing competitions, renaissance festivals, new job opportunities, and packing. If not for an invaluable tool I use on my writing belt, I would have failed to meet the deadline for a writing competition (see: 5 ways to kill that Deadline).
The number of outlines available may come close to the number of genres you could imagine. I am going to focus on one that I use in my own stories.
Of course, you do not need to use the outline for your story, but I believe it helps the story sing when it hits the beats right. Please, join me in this journey* through the “Save the Cat” beat sheet by Blake Snyder.

*I discovered this path by Jami Gold. There are links to the spreadsheet on her page: http://jamigold.com/for-writers/worksheets-for-writers/

Project Title
Enter your story title here.
(I’m just making this up as we go for this blog) Multipurpose Fairy

Log Line
Synopsis or Short Description
“A fairy discovers she could join a local performing troupe and with the help of a little pixie dust, the act takes off.” (*disclaimer: bad puns may be littered through the cat sheet*)

Word Count
Enter your desired count

  1. Opening Image, 1-75 total words
    the “before” image; status
    Periwinkle is enjoying a stroll in the woods
  2. Theme Stated, 341 total words
    another character poses theme to MC
    Periwinkle’s sister tells her to explore further and do more with her fairy magic
  3. Set-up, 341-683 total
    introduce each character in story A
    Periwinkle meets the actors practicing in the woods (on a mid-summer night… sorry, wrong story). They tell her of the great competition to be held for the magistrate.
  4. Catalyst, 819 total
    life-changing event or trigger
    One of the actors is allergic to fairies and is rushed away. They need a replacement.
  5. Debate, 819-1706
    critical choice, accepting the quest, point-of-no-return, etc
    The others convince Periwinkle to join their group. She has never acted before so she just wings it (ha).
  6. Break into Two or Act Two, 1706 (part of 5. Debate)
    result of choice, change of pace
    Periwinkle’s troupe enters to find the town overcrowded with actors.
  7. B-Story, 2048 total words
    team building, fun time; love story and theme progressing
    Periwinkle and her troupe practice together. One of the others begins crushing on her (because fairy romantic stuff).
  8. Fun & Games, 2048-3754
    what the premise is all about; fun with the story
    Periwinkle and the others meet some of their competition. Rivaling troupes begin to suspect the use of magic. Glitter gets everywhere.
  9. Midpoint, 3754 total words
    Halfway through first and second half; fun and games are over; stakes raised
    Periwinkle’s group performs for the magistrate. He is allergic to fairies (my imagination is running wild with thoughts of fairy-allergy symptoms).
  10. Bad Guys Close In, 3754-5119
    Enemy gets together and attacks; MC’s team unravel; anti B-story
    The other acting troupes begin to oppress Periwinkle’s group. The group falls apart as they accuse the leader of being in love with the fairy. They are forced to regroup in a cramped room at the inn on the corner of town.
  11. All Is Lost, 5119
    Opposite of Midpoint; No hope; The feels become real
    The group grumbles that the fairy is lighting the room up too much and they cannot sleep. The leader says he regrets casting her.
  12. Dark Night Of The Soul, 5119-5801
    Darkest point in the story; MC loses all
    Periwinkle leaves the group and wanders into the town alone.
  13. Break Into Three or Act 3, 5801
    A and B story combine to reveal solution
    Other acting troupes see her and try to convince her to join their group. The magistrate sends guards out to arrest her.
  14. Finale, 5801-7433
    Wrap-up of the story; Dispatch “Bad Guys” in ascending order working to the boss
    The other actors abandon Periwinkle to deal with the guards alone. Her old group finds her and hides her from the guards just in time. The fairy uses her magic to fly all of them back to her home in the woods.
  15. Final Image, 7500 total words (huzzah!)
    opposite of opening image, new state of the status
    The group performs their show for the Fairy Queen and they are hired as full-time performers for the fairy court. The group leader marries Periwinkle, Periwinkle’s sister falls for the one no one liked, and they all live happily ever after (wow, I think I just wrote the new Tinkerbell movie).

I hope this adventure has helped you in creating your own story using the “Save the Cat” outline. I’m sorry if the fairy story went over your head; they do that (ha). Enjoy your writing/editing and let me know what tools you use to create a story.

(and I just searched for “periwinkle the fairy” and discovered that it is already in the Disney universe… no similarities are intended or even remotely assumed.)


2 thoughts on ““Save the Cat” Beat Sheet

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