Worksheets for Writers

Worksheets for WritersStory Planning Worksheets

The writing community is fortunate to have many great resources. Based on things I learned from phenomenal teachers like Larry Brooks, Michael Hauge, and Martha Alderson, I developed these worksheets* to help all writers, from plotters to pantsers (those who write by the seat of their pants).

Let me know at my Contact page if there are other worksheets you’d like me to create. Sign up for my newsletter to receive my blog posts and hear about all additions I make to this page.

Story Arc Beat Sheets

Writing Craft Worksheets

Publishing Process Worksheets

* With the exception of the Save the Cat Beat Sheet, which was developed by Elizabeth Davis.

New to Beat Sheets? If you’re not familiar with beat sheets or how to use them, check out my Beat Sheets 101 post. I share MS Excel tips and explain how to read the columns and numbers. I also have posts with tips on how to find your beats, how to know where to place them, and how pantsers can use beat sheets too.

Need examples? K.M. Weiland’s Story Structure Database breaks movies and books down to their basic beats.

Note: I love sharing these worksheets, but if you give others the direct links to the files, the links won’t work. Bring others to this page instead, and they’ll be able to download all they want. Thanks!

(Click each image to view larger version.)

Save the Cat Beat Sheet:

This spreadsheet is based on Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat writing craft book.  His “beat sheet” is great for organizing a story during drafting or revisions, and this spreadsheet makes the process easier.  I talk more about how to use the Save the Cat spreadsheet for revisions here.

Story Engineering Story Structure Beat Sheet:

Inspired by Elizabeth’s spreadsheet, I decided to do the same with Larry Brooks’s story structure from Story Engineering, using turning points (plot points and “pinch points”) in the proper location to make the strongest story.  I talk more about how to use the Story Structure spreadsheet here.

Save the Cat and Story Engineering Master Beat Sheet:

For those who can’t decide how to approach story planning, check out the spreadsheet I made to combine Elizabeth’s Save the Cat spreadsheet with Larry’s story structure from Story Engineering.  This spreadsheet includes both the beats from the Save the Cat beat sheet and the parts and milestones from Story Engineering.  I talk about how to use this Master Spreadsheet here.

Jami Gold’s Basic Beat Sheet:

Beat sheets can be intimidating for those who write by the seat of their pants or those new to beat sheets. All those beats with odd names to fill in can be downright confusing. That’s where the Basic Beat Sheet can help. It includes just 4 major beats and 4 optional minor beats. No clutter. No confusion. Don’t let those other beat sheets intimidate you. (See below for a matching Scrivener template.)

Beat Sheet zoom

Jami Gold’s Scrivener Template:

I designed this basic Scrivener template to go along with the beats from the Basic Beat Sheet (4 major beats and 4 minor beats). We can input the target word counts for each beat from the Basic Beat Sheet and then track our progress while we draft. Check this post for instructions on using this template with your story and word count targets.

Screenshot of Scrivener Outliner view

Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure Beat Sheet:

Our characters must go through an internal journey that should mesh with the external plot. Most plotting techniques concentrate on the external plot points but don’t explain how the internal conflict is resolved during the story. Michael Hauge’s workshop, “Using Inner Conflict to Create Powerful Love Stories,” provides us a framework for strong romances (or love interests), a way to show that strong relationship, and a method to combine that inner journey with the external plot as described here. (Janice Hardy explains how this same method can apply to non-romance stories here.)

Jami Gold’s Romance Planning Beat Sheet:

In a romance, we have the external (plot) arc, the internal (character) arc for the hero, the internal (character) arc for the heroine, and the Romance Arc—the growth of the relationship over the course of the story. That’s a lot of arcs and plot points to juggle on a standard beat sheet. By focusing strictly on the romance arc, and how the relationship develops between the characters, we can see our romance stories on a deeper level.

Romance Planning Beat Sheet

Jami Gold’s Elements of a Good Scene Checklist:

To ensure our scenes aren’t too heavy with info dump or backstory, we should include at least three major elements in each scene. This is a simple checklist of the breakdown of potential elements by level of importance (as Janice Hardy explains here). I talked more about these scene elements and why we should pay attention here.

Jami Gold’s Elements of a Good Scene Worksheet:

This spreadsheet covers the same scene elements as the checklist above but formats the information so we can work on multiple scenes at once. Again, this worksheet combines information from my post here and Janice Hardy’s post here.

Jami Gold’s Story Development & Revision Worksheet:

Based on John Truby’s insights in The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller, this spreadsheet contains two tabs that cover four big-picture aspects of our planning and revision process: Story Ideas (brainstorming), Story Premise (the “what”), Character Arc (the “who”), and Plot Arc, Story World, and Symbols (the “how”). We can use the questions on this worksheet to develop our stories before drafting, or we can use the questions to more fully develop our stories, characters, and themes during revisions. For more information, check out my post introducing this worksheet and John Truby’s insights.

The Story Premise Development tab (click to view full-size image):

Displays the first tab of the Story Development & Revision Worksheet

The Character & Plot Arc tab (click to view full-size image):

Display of second tab of the Story Development & Revision Worksheet

Jami Gold’s Beta Reading Worksheet:

Based on the contest scoresheets used to analyze stories, I created a “master list” of points to consider when we beta read or when we ask others to beta read for us. We can use the questions on this worksheet to organize our thoughts, prompt discussions, or self-edit our work. For more information, check out my post introducing this worksheet and sharing more beta reading tips.

Screen shot of the two-page Beta Reading Worksheet(click image to zoom in)

Jami Gold’s Business Plan for Writers Worksheet:

Even artists such as writers can benefit from creating a business plan. We can use the sections on this worksheet to recognize what’s important to us, brainstorm our goals, and design a plan to get from Point A to Point B while avoiding distractions. For more information, check out my post introducing this worksheet and sharing more tips on what we can include on our business plan.

Screen shot of both pages of the Business Plan for Writers Worksheet(click image to zoom in)