Diamond State Romance Authors

More Tools for Plotting

I think writing should always stay fun and fresh. That’s one reason I recently switched historical settings to write an American frontier series. I like to try new methods of writing, too. I have author friends who are die-hard plotters, working with strict, detailed outlines, as well as friends who are complete pantsers. When I began my first novel, I wrote one scene at a time, drafting only the parts I couldn’t get out of my head. Literally, these characters were talking 24/7, so I had no choice but to write their story. It was a hot mess when I tried to string it all together!! Sound familiar, anyone?

Since then, I’ve played with all sorts of plotting methods, and had success with most. What never works for me is a heavily detailed plan because I grow bored with writing when I know exactly what’s coming next.

Recently I ran across Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. Why had I never heard of it before? For pantsers—or even people like me who like to plot with a little room for change—it’s a pretty neat system. You write the way you normally would, only using Save the Cat and its list of “beats” to keep your story on track. I discovered some free downloadable STC templates online, including an Excel spreadsheet for romance novels which allows you to manipulate the desired word count. I labeled the beats on the note cards in my Scrivener program before I began my current WIP, and now I’m writing scenes for each. My goal is to stay within the boundaries of STC’s target word counts for every beat. So far so good!

Here’s the Beat Sheet for Disney’s Frozen:


Author Jami Gold’s website is where I found the handy templates:




Legendary romance… www.sandrajonesromance.com