Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Author a Book: PRIMAL URGES and The BSBS Sheet

Hello fellow writers. Another week has gone by with my fabulous Seven Peaks writing class. The students inspire me and teach me something every week. The lesson we are on on this blog is PRIMAL URGES and the BSBS worksheet.

Although, in class this week, I brought supplies in for the students to make their own dream boards. Every writer needs a writing break sometime. Dream boards are a great distraction and a fun outlet for creativity. We'll talk about them on the blog next time.


I have mentioned this book before SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder. He breaks down how to write screenplays in a step by step way that will surely get you to the end of your script. I am using this book for this class for novel writing, along with a few other amazing books…


  • WRITING DOWN THE BONES by Natalie Goldberg
  • A WRITER'S GUIDE TO FICTION by Elizabeth Lyon
  • SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS  by Renni Browne & Dave King


Also great reads for any writer:

  • STEPHEN KING | ON WRITING
  • THE WAR OF ART by Steven Pressfield








PRIMAL URGES

Every character you write, whether she is the main character, a sidekick, the protagonist or a random person the MC comes in contact with --- must have a primal urge. 







So, what is a primal urge? It's the character's motivation --- why they do what they do. 

  • Survival
  • Safety
  • Hunger
  • Love
  • Protection
  • Fear of Death



To get readers on your character's side and rooting for them give your character one of these primal urges. Everyone relates to them We've all been there before. 

Give your main character the most emotional issues - readers will respond to them and want to go along on the journey with them. 



BSBS SHEET:

What is the BSBS sheet? It's the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet. Now, I have gone through Writer's Boot Camp in Santa Monica and we worked with beat sheets there. There are versions of beat sheets you can find on the internet. All of them are great, but for me, the BSBS hits the spot.

What is a beat?

They are considered breaks - where the readers can take a second and think about what just happened. It's the music of the book. And the beats have to be hit at certain times and yes, on certain pages. There is structure to every movie and every book - some have weak structure and so they don't get watched or read as much as those that have strong structure --- or beats.

Blake believes there are 15 beats in a movie and I tend to agree. But I write books, not movies, not yet. Yet, the 15 beats works for novels just as easily as it works for movies. The only difference are the pages the beats happen on.

BSBS 15 Beats:
  1. OPENING IMAGE
  2. THEME STATED
  3. SET-UP
  4. CATALYST
  5. DEBATE
  6. BREAK INTO TWO
  7. B STORY
  8. FUN AND GAMES
  9. MIDPOINT
  10. BAD GUYS CLOSE IN
  11. ALL IS LOST
  12. DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
  13. BREAK INTO THREE
  14. FINALE
  15. FINAL IMAGE

Below is the BSBS set up for novels - I found it on Belinda Crawford's blog. ‎belindacrawford.com


Blake Synder's Beat Sheet, with template |

In SAVE THE CAT - there are 15 questions that go along with these 15 beats. I suggest you buy the book - make a word doc of them and then answer them about your main character before you start writing the first chapter.

If you can answer the 15 questions you are well on your way to creating a complete and exciting novel.





Example
OPENING IMAGE = this is the tone of your book - the mood and image of your main character before anything great, horrible or exciting happens. What's going on in the MC's life before everything changes?



There you have it - lesson 3 --- go get the book SAVE THE CAT and start answering the 15 Beat Sheet questions. 

Write~on
Angie



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