A blog about writing and all things story…
Many of you ask when my brother Clark will be in town (Seattle) or where he’s teaching next. Well, what are you doing Saturday, March 8th? Check out Clark’s class at Willamette Writer’s in Portland (below). I hope to see you there.
Most people are familiar with the beat sheet for scene, character and movement, but many miss the emotional beats that help take their characters through their emotional arc. Part of the battle is knowing where to start a character’s journey – emotionally speaking – and chart it through the story consciously.
The Emotional Beat Sheet is based on the premise of the story, juxtaposed with the character’s journey, and guided by the comment the writer is trying to make about the human experience.
The Emotional Beat Sheet is a wonderful investigative and story-driving tool for writing screenplays or novels. The Emotional Beat Sheet helps accomplish this through a series of emotional transitions, reflections and turning points that tease out hidden conditions and constructs altering awareness of issues in the process that compels the character forward.
Example: Premise – poverty leads to crime.
The arc of the main character may start in a place where they’re emotionally naive but have power and wealth. Then something
happens, fair or unfair, causing them to lose their wealth and power and turn to a life of crime to regain their position. During this process, their previous naivete is wiped away and replaced with A: an awareness and possible compassion for the poor/victims, B: they become broken by the process and cynical, they withdraw, C: Embrace this new role and become ruthless, D: fill in the blank. It all depends on what the writer hopes to achieve by the comment.
The Emotional Beat sheet tracks and manages the story by clearly defining emotional set-ups and pay-offs, reversals, betrayals, achievements.
9 – 4 (one hour lunch on your own)
WW members – $95
You can register for this class by mailing a check to Willamette Writers’ Cynthia Whitcomb House, calling 503-305-6729 and registering over the phone, or by paying with a credit card. The workshop is held at the Willamette Writers’ Cynthia Whitcomb House is at 2108 Buck St, West Linn, OR 97068.
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By Miri Elm
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