Wednesday, December 18

A Beat Sheet For Scrivener

A Beat Sheet For Scrivener

How to use Excel and Scrivener to build a beat sheet for your work in progress.

Ever wondered how to use beat sheets with Scrivener? I have! If you have too, rejoice and be full of tasty Christmas cheer. Jami Gold has written an article that does all the heavy lifting: "Ask Jami: Can We Use Beat Sheets with Scrivener?" (The answer is a most emphatic, "Heck Ya!")

I'm going to let you read Jami's article, she walks you through what she's done in great and glorious (yet interesting!) detail.

Here, though, are a couple of links you're not going to want to miss:

Jami Gold's basic beat sheet

That link will take you to an Excel file. Jami has set it up so all you have to do is plug in the number of words you'd like your finished manuscript to have and her spreadsheet calculates what beat should appear where. It's incredible.

Even if you don't use beats in your work, it's interesting to see where they would go.

Another must have is Jami Gold's Scrivener template.

I was slow to adopt Scrivener--I was a dyed-in-the-wool MS Word user--but now love it and wouldn't write in anything else.

SO. I was very VERY excited to see that Jami adapted her (brilliant) Excel spreadsheet to Scrivener by transforming it into a template.

And all for Christmas! What a wonderful gift. Thanks Jami. :-)


Photo credit: "Dreams" by Marina del Castell under Creative Commons Attribution.


  1. I actually just downloaded Jami's spreadsheets today. I use Scrivener and have been building my own beat sheet template similar to Jami's. I didn't even think of entering the word count goals as section targets. That's brilliant.

    1. "I actually just downloaded Jami's spreadsheets today."

      What do they say, great minds think alike? ;) Yes, Jami Gold definitely has heaps of brilliant, useful, amazing ideas. I'm so glad she shares them! :)

  2. The link to the Excel file doesn't seem to work for me. It redirects me to Jami's main web site.

    1. The internet gremlins are at work!

      I just tried the link and it asked me if I wanted to download the file, so I'm not sure what to tell you. Perhaps click through to her article (the link is in the first paragraph) and try the link in Jami Gold's article.

      Hope it works for you!

  3. Hi Karen, Thanks for sharing! I tried commenting yesterday, but it might have gotten held up in spam because I included a link.

    As Daniel noticed, for anti-piracy reasons, my site doesn't allow direct downloads of files from someone who isn't already ON my site. All the files you mentioned (and all my worksheets in general) can be found on my For Writers-->Worksheets page of the menu.

    I hope that helps! :)

    1. Thanks Jami!

      That's strange. When I click on the link "Jami Gold's Scrivener template" I download a file.

      Since you'd rather that not happen, though, I've disabled it. In case you're curious, here's the URL I'd used:

      I also tried plugging that into my browser, and, again, the file downloads fine.

    2. I think because you've had my site open recently, the system recognizes you. Maybe? I'm not sure how it works to be honest. LOL! Cookies, gremlins, random photons, who knows. :)

      The limitation applies to .xls and .doc files too. If someone who hasn't been to my site recently clicks on the direct link, they're sent to my home page (where I have a "Looking for Jami's worksheets? Click here" direction). It's not that I'm trying to be difficult, but some worksheets are just for my workshop students, so the protection against direct linking has to be there.

      Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know so your readers aren't misdirected. Thanks again!

    3. Thank you!

      It's great that you made all those fantastic worksheets. Much appreciated. :-)

  4. Very cool! Thank you for the tips, Karen. I'm a Word user right now, but have been slowly exploring Scrivener via the free trial. I really do love it, but am mostly using it as an outlining tool (doing the actual writing in Word). I'm thinking I should take the full plunge in '14 and do an entire story in S. :)

    Happy holidays to you and yours!


    1. Scrivener was the best $40 I ever spent. I still use MS Word, but all of my serious writing is done in Scrivener. Switching to Scrivener was one of the best writing decisions I ever made.

      By the way, as you note, Scrivener's great for outlining, but I also use an app called Index Card for the first pass, when my thoughts are coming together. Chuck Wendig recommended it on his blog and I've been using it ever since. (And I'm in no way affiliated with the app.)


Because of the number of bots leaving spam I had to prevent anonymous posting. My apologies. I do appreciate each and every comment.