It was the early ‘60s when Sonny and Cher made the phrase “the beat goes on” famous. As a bubble-gummer, I didn’t realize the beat would be an important tool in my chosen profession.

When you’re learning about writing a structurally sound and entertaining novel, every arrow you can access in your writing quiver is a plus. This week I added “beat sheet” to mine. This method helps writers identify the major milestones in their novels – the story’s beats. I’m sure this application is much different than what the singing duo, formerly known as Caesar and Cleo, had in mind some 40 years ago.

I learned more about this invaluable writing tool last week from Larry Brooks ( His most recent blog crystallized my understanding of its purpose. Larry says a “beat sheet” is a bulleted listing of the scenes in your story. In his blog, he outlines how to create a “beat sheet that will work for your writing style.”

Visit his blog to read more about beat sheets and to access a reprintable template that he credits one of his readers, Rachel Savage, for creating.