|B is for Bookmap and Beat sheet|
A beat sheet looks like an outline. A bookmap looks like an outline too. The difference between the two is how and why you use them.
Beat sheet: I look at this as a roadmap for my manuscript. I create it before I sit down to write page one, and it can vary in degree of detail. There are two layers in this process for me. First I open up my blank template in word-
Template? Ah! The horror!
Wait a second. The template basically includes what happens, the big moments that all my threads work toward. What I do with the story to get to those places depends on what happens at the keyboard in my drafting stage. A beat sheet keeps me on track, keeps me focused on the point of the story so I don't go off in a tangent, unless I want to...
Step two: Take the outline to the storyboard in Scrivener. This is where scenes start to pop out for me. (I lie. The first scene is already in my head when I come up with a main character. That step is before any of this outlining. Sorry for the tangent.) I make little notes on the research I'm doing for the story - or big notes, depending on the subject. These notes are reminders. For example, the saffron crocus is a fall blooming flower:Make sure the scene is set in late August.
Next I sit down and work on expanding the beats, grouping them to create chapters with a clear arc. Then I draft.
Bookmap: This is new and exciting to me. I just learned how to do it in an SCBWI Master Class with Cheryl Klein, and I recommend finding a class near you. I can't tell you all the secrets, because what I learned is her intellectual property, but the core idea is a basic one:
Deconstruct your manuscript into scenes, and make sure each scene is working toward the goal.
Remember I mentioned tangents? Well, even with a beat sheet, there are a bunch of things that can go wrong on the way to a finished first draft. At least for me, anyway.
The bookmap helps me notice redundancy, points out weak scenes, and overall helps me distill the big picture again - the why it happens.
I think the bookmap is an important step because my characters have usually modified the "why" since I sat down to write the beat sheet. Looking at each scene again in detail also triggers my inner editor: This is clearly what the character needs to say/do vs where I left off in the draft.
Now. Back to work. Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard!