The Beat Sheet Deep Dive: Act II pt 2

We are examining the beat sheet in detail. This is the second part of our dive into the second act. The second act is where we find the bulk of the story. We’re at the point of a plot twist.

We have had the hero think they have won or lost the game. They are celebrating or drowning their sorrows. Then, the plot twists. The hero goes from euphoria to depression. Or they go from depression to euphoria, depending on whether they think they have won or lost. This is the point at which the worlds collide and the hero learns the truth of the matter.

The story has changed direction. Think of the story as a series of switchback turns on a mountain road. The hero can rebound from here, if they thought they lost. Or they fall here, if they thought they’d won.

The bad guys have regrouped and renewed their activity. The story stakes rise. At this point, you may not even need actual bad guys. It could be the hero’s flaws coming to the forefront. Of course good things can happen here as well. That depends on what happened at the midpoint. In this way, the hero will be encouraged to continue their journey to the end of the story.

Then they will hit the “All Is Lost” beat. That’s when the hero hits the bottom. You should have 75% of the story behind you at this point. The bad thing that happens here should be worse than the catalyst. The event that propelled the hero into changing their situation in the first place. Rob the hero of all hope at this point and it’s their own fault. They should know that, too.

Next up is the beat where the hero spends time in torment. This is the beat where the hero reacts to their new, hopeless, situation. Who the hero is, as a person, dictates this response s. The hero will process what happened and decides on the course they must take after. It shows how the hero deals with the defeat. This is the point where the hero realises what they need to do. This beat emphasizes how much the hero has changed.

This is the point where the hero tries to go back to where they started only to find they can’t. They have changed and they can only go forward. They no longer belong in the place they were before. The changes they have undergone are too great. Their former life no longer fits them. They learn they need to embrace their new reality.

This is the end of Act II. From here to the end of the story, we will be in Act III. At this point, we are beginning to fuse the worlds of Act I and Act II. But that’s another blog. We will take that up in a couple weeks. Keep writing my friends.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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Posted in General Opinion, Writing Techniques

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