What are Structure and Story Beats?

While I was reading about scriptwriting, I also learned about structure and story beats. The structure is like the framework of the story while story beats are the emotions of the story.


When it comes to learning about story structure Syd Field’s book Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting. He talks about the paradigm.

The Syd Field “Paradigm”

Some other story structures are:

Linda Seger “Story Spine”

Source: Dramatica From: Making a Good Script Great by Linda Seger

John Truby’s “Twenty-two Building Blocks”

Source: Dramatica From: The Anatomy of Story by John Truby

Christopher Vogler “The Hero’s Journey”

Source: Dramatica From: The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Micahel Hauge’s “Six Stage Plot Structure”

Source: Dramatica From: Writing Screenplays That Sell by Michael Hauge

Dramatica Act Structure

Source: Dramatica From: Dramatica: A New Theory of Story by Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley

NoFilmSchool.com “Three Act Structure”

Source: NoFilmSchool.com

Story Beats

While learning about beats I found that there are many different names for the beats but they all are about the same. The most important and used beats are addressed by Blake Snyder in his book Save the Cat!

Blake Snyder’s “Save The Cat!”

Act I
  • Opening Image (pg 1)
  • Theme Stated (pg 5)
  • Set-up (pg 1-10)
  • Catalyst (pg 12)
  • Debate (pg 12-25)
  • Break Into Two (pg 25)
Act II
  • B Story (pg 30)
  • Fun and Games (pg 30-35)
  • Midpoint (pg 55)
  • Bad Guys Close In (pg 55-75)
  • All is Lost (pg 75)
  • Dark Night of the Soul (pg 75-85)
  • Break Into Three (pg 85)
  • Finale (pg 85-110)
  • Final Image (pg 110)

StudioBinder has a great post about the Save the Cat! Beat Sheet (bs2). They also have a free template for using the beat sheet.

NoFilmSchool.com “Movie Beat Sheet”

NoFilmSchool.com “The Original Story Map”

Here is a story map (which is the same as a beat sheet) from NoFilmSchool.com. They have an article about the map with examples here: Script Outline: Free Story Map Template.


It doesn’t matter what structure or beats you use, as long as you follow basic story points. You can find those in every movie and novel. You might even find them in your own life.

Further Reading