"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Script Writing Continued--more on the Beat Sheet

A couple of days ago I talked about Beat Sheets. Beet sheets (also called a Step Sheet or a Scene Breakdown) break down episodes beat by beat. To give you a better idea I thought I'd show you an actual Beat Sheet for AEI.

Jon Hargrove

• A tight-knit group of six graduate students, all best friends, are conducting an historical excavation of a colonial church in Boston. The church had been recently burned down. They are led by an eccentric professor. The students are history grad students.

• Beneath the new church, one of the grad students comes across a previously unknown room. In fact, it's a crypt.

• They enter the room, which is burned and destroyed, and unstable at best. Dirt sifts down from above. Timbers creek. The professor finds an unusual leather pouch of coins buried with one of the corpses. He picks up the bag.

• Immediately the roo
m starts to collapse. The students make it, but the professor is killed. His hand, the only part of him not buried, is still clutching the bag of coins.

• The pr
ofessor’s corpse is later removed, and the six shocked students attend his funeral.

• Days later, the six students gather in a sort of tribute to their killed professor. They gather inside his office on the university, drinking, remembering the old man.

• The professor’s wife arrives, grieving. She hands them the bag of coins, found on the professor’s body
. Since the coins are part of the excavation, she wants the students to have them to further their research.

• They open t
he bag and count out thirty silver coins, all ancient. Could they be the thirty coins used to betray Christ? Some of the students scoff at the idea, but others believe.

• One of the students, Gerald, an intern at the Boston Museum, has had considerable experience in dating artifacts. He tests the coins and concludes that they are over two thousand years old.

• Valery, a student
at the Harvard Divinity School, uses history books to place the coins. She’s confidant that they are from the time of Christ.

• Two of the students, Robert and Piers, go out on the town. Robert immediately gets into a fight at a local club and is stabbed to death.

• The remaining five friends are in shock, horrified. Two deaths in one week. Julie, who’s into the arcane and the occult, does some more research. She discovers that the Judas coins are thought to be cursed, and she’s beginning to believe it.

• Sheila brings in a numism
atist, who states that the coins could be potentially worth millions if sold to the right collector. The coins have only been rumored to exist. They have on their hands a major find.

• The students argue over who should oversee the coins, now that the coins are valuable. They quickly begin losing trust in each other. They decide to use the museum’s safe.

• Later, Piers and Julie, who are engaged to be married and have known each other since they were kids, suggest that they sell the coins, and share the money. But Sheila reminds them that the coins are not theirs to sell. They belong to the parish, and she thinks they should give the coins back.

• That night the others find Sheila dead. Fallen from her fifth floor dorm room. Her death is ruled a suicide by the police.

• The remaining four students secretly wonder if Sheila’s death was truly a suicide. None of them have alibis.

• Piers is losing it. He bel
ieves the coins are cursed and they need to be destroyed. Julie and Gerald go down to the museum to find the coins. But the coins are gone.

• They all suspect each other of stealing them, leading to another murder.

• The three remaining students have decided toss the coins into the Atlantic. Just as they are about to do so, Gerald turns a gun on them.

• They fight and Gerald is killed, falling overboard, leaving only Piers and Julie.

• Piers turns around to see his fiancée Julie holding a gun on him. She wants the coins. He tosses them to her, and she promptly pulls the trigger.

• Alone, with five o
f her one-time best friends now dead, Julie turns the sailboat back to shore.

• In the distance a storm is coming, and the seas are choppy. Lightning illuminates the entire sky, revealing ominous thu
nderheads. The little sailboat rises and falls on the massive swells, standing little chance against nature’s fury—and the curse of the coins.


A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write by Ken Atchity discusses the craft of writing, explains how to make effective use of one's time, and gives advice concerning writer's block, revision, inspiration, and manuscript submission.

"A Writer's Time"(Revised and Expanded Edition) is a gold mine of ideas and suggestions for the writer at any level. This is one book that will stay on my book shelf, along with all the other reference books I could not do without. You'll feel as if you have hit the mother-lode with the invaluable information and strategies for organization. It is written by a writer with complete understanding of the writer's mind. I also found it to be extremely motivating. I often found myself shaking my head up and down as I was reading, as if the Author Kenneth Atchity, could read my mind, or knew exactly what I needed to hear. By L. Shirley "Laurie's Boomer Views"

Read more great reviews and buy
A Writer's Time on Amazon here.

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