RRCWLogoWelcome to the home of the Golden Rose

We are the Portland, Oregon chapter of Romance Writers of America. Our mission is to educate, support, and mentor published and unpublished members in the profession of romance writing. We welcome anyone who is pursuing their dream of writing romance. If you are new to the area or want to learn more about our chapter, feel free to come for a visit. Check out the membership information or send an email to our Secretary at secretary@rosecityromancewriters.com.


Portland Community College Map in PDF

9am Social hour in the TCB lobby

10am General meeting  –  TCB 218

11:00 Workshop  – TCB 218


September 8, 2018

11 AM

Beating Your Story Into Shape: Using Scrivener and Todd Klick’s Something Startling Happens story beats to draft your novel  with E.J. Russell

We’ve probably all heard about the three act structure, the Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat, or other “macro plotting” methods. But what if the macro plot isn’t enough for you? What if you look at that vast, yawning space between the First Turning Point and the Midpoint and your muse runs screaming from the room?

Some of us need “micro plotting”—which is where Todd Klick’s screenwriting book, Something Startling Happens, comes to our rescue. We can use the story beats he’s identified from analyzing hundreds of films to bushwhack our way through the first draft of our novel—whether we plan the route carefully first, or simply fly by the seat of our pants.

1) Introduction to the Story Beats
⁃ The 120 Something Startling Happens story beats
⁃ The story beats in film and TV vs. in a novel
⁃ How the story beats work for novels of different lengths
⁃ How the story beats mesh with “macro plotting” methods
⁃ How the story beats aid in pacing and avoiding the “great swampy middle”
2) Setting up a Scrivener Story Beat Project
⁃ Template project and template sheets
⁃ Text documents as beats
⁃ Labels and statuses (and color coding)
⁃ Beat target word counts
3) Getting ready to draft
⁃ To plot or to pants?
⁃ Using the Scrivener Synopsis
4) Track your work
⁃ Using Excel to track progress and set goals
⁃ Learn from your past
⁃ Beats instead of words
5) Getting the words down
⁃ The beats as brainstorming
⁃ Write in the order you want
⁃ Set your label and status
⁃ Changing on the fly (even if you’re a plotter)
⁃ Don’t knock yourself out (aka know when you’re done for the day)
6) Beats -> Scenes and Chapters
⁃ Scrivener snapshots
⁃ Converting beats to scenes and chapters
⁃ Revise now or later
⁃ Tricking your muse