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Cinderella Beat Sheet (Plot Guide)

Cinderelly, Cinderelly… what’s the plot of Cinderella? It’s a story told countless times, from children’s books to the Disney animated classic, and even on ice! A timeless romance – with a great sense of fashion.

In this beat sheet, you’ll see how the Cinderella story’s plot fits perfectly within the Story Spine plot structure, one of our favorites. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to write your own modern fairy tale.

Table of Contents

Act 1: Beginning

Beat 1 – Once Upon a Time…

A beautiful, charismatic young girl named Cinderella lived with her widowed father on a luxurious estate. He remarries Lady Tremaine, a widow with two daughters of her own – and dies shortly thereafter. Jealous of her stepdaughter’s beauty and determined to forward her own daughters’ interests, Lady Tremaine orders Cinderella to become a servant in her own home, overburdening her with chores.

Beat 2 – Every Day…

Cinderella’s stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella, take advantage of her meekness, constantly mocking her and adding to her workload. Despite this, Cinderella remains kind, obediently doing her chores. She also takes care of the mice and birds and animals that live on the property, making friends of them – especially two mice named Jaq and Gus. When she protects them from her stepmother’s cat Lucifer, Lady Tremaine makes her duties even harder in retaliation.

Act 2: Middle

Beat 3 – But One Day…

The King of the land, who has become impatient for his son to choose a bride and provide him with grandchildren, decides to hold a ball and invites all the eligible maidens in the kingdom regardless of their social status, so that the Prince will (hopefully) choose a wife. Of course, Cinderella wants to attend.

Beat 4 – Because of That…

Cinderella finds a dress of her late mother’s she can repair and wear to the event, but her stepmother and stepsisters deliberately keep her busy, afraid of how much prettier she is. They assign her extra chores, leaving her no time to prepare herself for the ball.

In response, Jaq, Gus, and the other animals decide to fix up the dress for her, using beads and other materials the stepsisters threw away. With their help, Cinderella is ready to go to the ball. However, when she attempts to go with her family, her stepsisters rip out the parts that were theirs, leaving the dress in pieces. Cinderella is alone and left behind.

Beat 5 – Because of That…

Cinderella storms out to the garden, distraught, when her Fairy Godmother arrives to help. She creates a coach from a pumpkin, transforms her mice into majestic horses, and turns her horse and dog into a coachman and footman. She also provides a gorgeous gown to wear to the ball along with a stunning (but impractical) pair of glass slippers. The only catch? The magic will all end on the stroke of midnight, so she must be gone from the ball by then.

When Cinderella arrives, the Prince is instantly smitten. The King orders the Grand Duke to make sure no one interferes with their evening. He keeps the other ladies back as Cinderella and the Prince dance and wander out to the palace grounds. Her stepsisters wonder who the woman is from afar.

Beat 6 – Because of That…

When the clock tolls midnight, Cinderella panics and runs away before she and the Prince can exchange names. The Grand Duke tries to stop her, but Cinderella manages to flee the palace, losing one of her slippers on the way. When the magic ends, Cinderella and the animals revert to their former appearance. But Cinderella discovers the other glass slipper is still on her foot, and takes it home with her.

The Prince, now in love, states he will only marry the girl whose foot fits the glass slipper. Since they don’t know who it is, the King orders the Grand Duke to try it on every girl in the kingdom until he finds her!

Act 3: End

Beat 7 – Until finally…

Lady Tremaine locks Cinderella in her attic bedroom, just before the Grand Duke arrives. While he inspects her stepsisters, discovering the slipper does not fit either of them, Jaq and Gus steal the key, struggle upstairs, and try to free Cinderella.

Despite a last minute offensive from Lucifer the cat, the mice succeed with their help of the other animals, and a freed Cinderella hurries downstairs to meet the Grand Duke. At the sight, Lady Tremaine causes the Duke’s page to trip and break the glass slipper, and all seems lost. But Cinderella reveals she still has the other one. Finally, the Grand Duke places it successfully on her foot.

Beat 8 – And Ever Since Then…

The Duke brings Cinderella back to the castle, the King celebrates, and the Prince is ecstatic, now even more in love. Cinderella and the Prince are married, and share a kiss as they set off in a carriage to enjoy their honeymoon.

Cinderella Beat Sheet (Plot Guide) - Plottr

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