After writing the beat sheet, is there any preparatory document you can write before starting to write your story? I just finished writing the beat sheet for a story I wanted to write, but I would like to ensure I don't mess things up while writing it, is there any other document I can write to better structure and plan out how my story is going to pan out? Or should I just start? I am trying to see if I can write something that will be able to be used to sniff out issues before they appear.

2 Answers 2


A more detailed outline.

However, you may be just nervous about starting. I note that there is no technique that will sniff all issues, in that people have discovered issues in the fourth or fifth draft, so it may be time to be bold.

  • That's what I do. I make my outline as detailed as I need it to be to guide me along, or I just write and rewrite multiple drafts until the story converges. Other documents that help me during writing are character sheets, lists of names (or placeholders) and objects, research relevant to my story, maps, plot graphs and/or timelines (if the plot has multiple throughlines that need to be synchronized), a style guide (including narrator idiosyncrasies and terms appropriate to the historic time), a dictionary and thesaurus.
    – user55858
    Mar 10, 2023 at 10:33

Some authors do it like this:

  • They characterize, modify and develop their characters
  • This includes increasing contrast of their personality, sketching their vita etc.
  • Similar for the „world“ these characters live/d in
  • They assist this (pre)work with research, e.g. about real events, things and products they use etc.
  • They use various tools for this like spreadsheet, data base, sketch and note books, graphic tools to literally plot their stories
  • They follow at least a 3-stage model for their characters: intro, conflict, resolution
  • And more, depending on their goals and needs

There are some writing tools out there to assist one way or the other. I recall scrivener, „the snowflake“ for writing novels or Papyrus (german).

You can do without, as long as you manage to entertain your readers one way … or the other. (See, what I mean? :)

And as was posted already: just start, just do it. You‘ll write a starting point, which will start shining after a few reworks. Which includes e.g. rephrasing, like:

You‘ll make your first version irresistible via redesign.

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