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You can find all about beat sheets in Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering. Basically, each scene gets a brief summary so you can sort them out for proper sequence.

I didn’t have anything like that for the original series. So, to be able to find out what I have, I have to make them.

I use MS Word as an editor and save everything as Rich Text Format (RTF) so the possibility of any corruption is less. Plus, there are no Word version differences in the files.

I made a copy of the Smashwords version of The Clann and stripped all the front and back matter off so only the story was left. Made a new file for the beat sheet.

I have a wide landscape monitor, so with both of the files open at the same time I can do some arranging. I happen to be using Office 2007 on this machine.

Under the View tab, select View Side by Side:


Just under that, turn off Synchronous Scrolling:


Now I’ve got a full-size, full-screen look at both files in Draft mode:


The beat sheet is on the left and the text is on the right. All I have to do is look at the scene on the right (scroll down as needed)


and type the beat on the left:


Below each chapter heading, I put in the date and page range. I started out doing each beat line with the date, page, and character POV, but decided it wasn’t worth it. I just need a rough sequence of time so I can easily find stuff when I start doing the actual re-structuring.

I’m hoping to be able to use a ton of stuff almost directly. That will depend on how the structuring turns out.

Note: If you invest in the series, I will offer a no-cost upgrade to the latest electronic editions as they become available. Save your receipts.

Question for you

Each of the four novels is currently over 200,000 words. That’s 2 to 4 times as long as the “normal” novel. Should I cut down to 100,000, leave the length alone, or expand them? Drop us a comment with your opinion.