Tangled Beat Sheet: A Plot Guide for Romance Authors

Disney’s Tangled is a delightful retelling of the fairy tale Rapunzel. It also follows Gwen Haye’s Romancing the Beat plot template fairly well. Since this is a romance template available in Plottr, we’re excited to break the story down in a Tangled beat sheet so you can see just how well the plot fits the Romancing the Beat story structure.

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Tangled - Phase 1: The Set-Up

This section of the plot sets up the romance and lets us know what the story will be about. It is often where our main characters meet and we learn about challenges they may face.

Plot Beat 1 – Introduce H1

We meet the long-haired female in her natural habitat. In Rapunzel’s world, normal equals making the best of each and every day fighting off the monotony her life has become. She is stuck in a tower and running out of things to do.

We see Rapunzel’s considerable boredom, even though she tries to be positive. She wonders when her life will really begin.

It’s clear Rapunzel needs to get out of that tower and finally experience life like any normal person would.

Plot Beat 2 – Introduce H2

We meet Flynn Ryder in the midst of a daring heist, stealing the lost princess’s crown. On the whole, he seems to be a bit selfish and sneaky, but he’s also funny and charming.

Flynn is a pretty simple guy. He wants to sell the crown and make some money. He needs to learn to be selfless and open his heart to another person. The heist doesn’t exactly go as planned, but Flynn improvises as he is wont to do.

Plot Beat 3 – Meet Cute

This is where our protagonists have a run-in. It could be that they are meeting for the very first time. In this case, Flynn needs a nice place to hide from the palace guards.

He climbs Rapunzel’s tower, desperate to escape, but he is not prepared for the volatile response that awaits him. Rapunzel has been told that men are all ruffians and hits him in the head with a frying pan, knocking him out cold.

Flynn eventually comes to and faces a curious yet fearful Rapunzel. She has stolen his loot and hidden it, refusing to give it back.

Plot Beat 4 – No Way 1

Not a chance these two will fall in love, and it’s important to give our love interests good reason to think that. At this stage of the game, Rapunzel is more concerned with who Flynn is rather than viewing him as a romantic prospect. Flynn is a thief and nothing more in her eyes.

Mother Gothel has pounded it into Rapunzel’s head that the outside world isn’t safe, and neither are the men in it. Flynn sees Rapunzel as a means to an end, and he intends to get his satchel back with the crown intact.

Plot Beat 5 – Adhesion

This beat is the plot thrust that brings the story into the second act. Rapunzel and Flynn can’t walk away from each other now. Not until they see this conundrum through. Flynn wants his crown back. He won’t leave without it.

Rapunzel says that Flynn can have his crown back, but he has to take her to see the floating lights at the palace first. It’s pretty much the last place he wants to be headed since he is a wanted man there (and not in a desirable way).

Tangled - Phase 2: Falling in Love

This is the point in the plot where our couple falls in love, but the challenges from Phase One become real obstacles they will have to overcome. In most romance stories, the couple is at least temporarily unable to overcome what is in their way and is forced to separate emotionally, physically, or both.

Plot Beat 6 – No Way 2

Attractions are starting to grow, but Flynn and Rapunzel are too dedicated to their external goals or too entrenched in their false beliefs.

Flynn, who is all about the money, sees an opportunity to scare Rapunzel back into her tower, and takes her to The Snuggly Duckling Tavern.

Rapunzel ain’t viewing Flynn as a viable romantic option. He’s her ticket to finally seeing the floating lights. Neither one of them views romance as the main agenda here.

Plot Beat 7 – Inkling of Desire

The attraction between them continues to grow. When Rapunzel sees Flynn singing and letting loose, her view of him softens just a tad.

Rapunzel’s ability to get along with ruffians she was once terrified of has Flynn a bit befuddled. She saves him (selfishly, maybe) and kicks off a rousing song where everyone is now sharing their dreams.

Flynn is silently reassessing who Rapunzel really is.

Plot Beat 8 – Deepening Desire

The desire continues to deepen as they begin showing each other glimpses of who they actually are.

When Flynn and Rapunzel have to flee the tavern, they nearly drown. Rapunzel not only saves Flynn from an awful death, she also shows him her secret and heals his injured hand. Flynn trusts her enough to tell her his real name is Eugene.

The conversations they have about her hair and his childhood reveal that maybe this Eugene character isn’t the selfish ruffian she thought he was, and Eugene thinks that maybe someone like Rapunzel might be worth caring about.

Plot Beat 9 – Maybe This Could Work

They begin to question their first opinions of each other and their previous No Way arguments against being together.

In the city of Corona, they have the opportunity to spend some meaningful time getting to know one another. Eugene sees her struggling with her hair and finds some girls to braid it so she can enjoy the festival.

With Rapunzel’s hair braided, we have a moment where Eugene shows her some admiration, and the horse Maximus gives him an eyebrow wiggle. Eugene shrugs it off, but it’s clear he is starting to demonstrate potential romantic interest rather than viewing her as a meal ticket.

Rapunzel sees Eugene as kind and caring, sharing special moments as he watches her enjoy things that would seem so normal to most people (dancing, eating cupcakes, festival activities).

Plot Beat 10 – Midpoint of Love

This is the false high. It appears as though they can have both their internal and external goals at the same time. Why choose when you can have it all?

“All at once, everything looks different, now that I see you.” Rapunzel finally sees the lanterns, just as Eugene promised she would. He gives her a floating lantern of her own, and she offers him the crown (courtesy of Mother Gothel, unfortunately).

These gestures, though, mean more now that she actually sees him and he sees her. They kiss amidst the floating lanterns.

“At last I’ve seen the light, and it’s like the fog is lifted.” They see that life with each other might be more important than piles of money or floating lanterns. “The world has somehow shifted.”

Tangled - Phase 3: Retreating from Love

Plot Beat 11 – Inkling of Doubt

Everything seems to be riding high until past doubts and false beliefs come back.

Originally, Rapunzel was going to give Eugene the crown to test him, like Mother Gothel wanted her to when Gothel handed the crown to her earlier, but when she gave him the crown during the lantern scene, she genuinely thought he would stick around.

This is tested when Flynn begins acting weird right after they kiss. He rows them to the shore and says he needs to take care of something. She wants to trust him badly, but there is a shade of doubt as he walks away from her, crown in hand.

Plot Beat 12 – Deepening Doubt

The seed of doubt planted in the last beat continues to fester.

Rapunzel waits for Flynn in the boat, choosing to trust what they just built rather than giving into her fears. Then two actual ruffians come out of nowhere and claim Eugene not only abandoned her but gave up her secret, leaving her at the mercy of two men who now know about her magical abilities. Her faith in Eugene is shattered.

Plot Beat 13 – Retreat Beat

The Retreat Beat is one where subtext is left behind, and Rapunzel actually says, either in an internal or external way, what she fears and how she is going to protect her hearts.

Even after the two men claim that Eugene left her, Rapunzel still tries to have a little hope, stating he would never do that to her.

But the two ruffians point to a ship behind her where Eugene appears to be willingly sailing away without her. Her fears and Mother Gothel’s accusations against Eugene have come true. He is nothing more than a thief and a ruffian, and the outside world is not a safe place for Rapunzel.

Plot Beat 14 – Shields Up

The worst-case scenario has arrived. The fears and false beliefs have been realized, and the relationship is breaking down.

Mother Gothel comes to save Rapunzel, proving that she was the only person Rapunzel could trust all along.

Rapunzel will never be safe because of her magical abilities. Men will never see her as anything other than a meal ticket and a prize to be exploited.

Rapunzel looks back at Eugene sailing away from her, tears in her eyes as she lets the truth sink in. Then she turns away from him and his retreating figure. Mother Gothel stands with her arms outstretched, and Rapunzel rushes into them saying, “You were right, Mother. You were right about everything.”

Plot Beat 15 – Break Up

The darkest moment. Rapunzel has held onto their false beliefs or doubts, and the relationship is over. Rapunzel goes back to her tower willingly. There is no safe place for her in the real world.

The opportunity to transform came, and instead of opening her heart, she shut it off. Rapunzel never once considered that Eugene chose her in the face of what she has witnessed.

Rapunzel gives up on love, and gives up on a chance for her life to truly begin. We see that Eugene was actually knocked out which makes this scenario all the more devastating. Eugene really had chosen Rapunzel over the crown, but Rapunzel doesn’t know it.

Tangled - Phase 4: Fighting for Love

Plot Beat 16 – Dark Night

The Dark Night is the “what have I done” moment for the Protagonist. It’s the beat where they think they should feel better than they do about the stupid thing they just did and begin to reconsider.

In this case, Rapunzel is in her tower, missing Eugene, hurting because of his betrayal.

Eugene is in jail, trying to figure out how this could have happened, with no way to fix it or to return to the woman he has fallen in love with. He has to break out of jail.

Rapunzel has to see Mother Gothel for who she really is. More importantly, Rapunzel needs to come to know herself.

Plot Beat 17 – Wake Up

Rapunzel chooses love over fear and doubt. This is the “I have been an idiot and need to fix this” moment.

Rapunzel finally realizes that she has been painting the symbol of Corona, the sun, all her life. She is the lost princess, and Mother Gothel is her kidnapper. Eugene sees his assailants in prison and finds out everything was orchestrated by Rapunzel’s mother. He has to break free.

Rapunzel confronts Mother Gothel. The confrontation ensues between Rapunzel and Mother Gothel. Eugene breaks out of prison and gains access to the tower, only to be stabbed by Mother Gothel.

Plot Beat 18 – Grand Gesture

It’s life or death now. Rapunzel and Eugene must be willing to put it all on the line or risk losing the one thing they need to become wholehearted.

The Grand Gesture, the great sacrifice, is here. But will it be enough? Rapunzel agrees to go with Mother Gothel if she is allowed to save Eugene’s life.

Eugene refuses to let Rapunzel make that sacrifice for him. He cuts her hair so Mother Gothel will have no reason to imprison Rapunzel any longer, giving up his chance for healing. Eugene is going to die, even though Rapunzel will never have to deal with Mother Gothel again. Rapunzel’s tears have a bit of magic left in them, and they manage to heal Eugene just when we believe that all is lost.

Plot Beat 19 – What Wholehearted Looks Like

Rapunzel and Eugene have experienced massive transformations both internally and externally. Eugene does this before Rapunzel actually heals him when he says, “You were my new dream.” He is no longer the same selfish thief we met at the beginning of the story.

Rapunzel knows she can trust him with her life when she says, “And you were mine.” They no longer need floating lanterns, money, or even magical powers, although those powers end up coming in handy once her tears heal him.

Once healed, they embrace and kiss like everyone should for that perfect “Happily Ever After” moment.

Since the stakes were death and imprisonment, Eugene’s healing and Rapunzel’s freedom from Mother Gothel are all the more rewarding, especially because the two sacrifices/grand gestures were so huge.

Plot Beat 20 – Epilogue and Final Image

This is the return to the ordinary world; each Protagonist has changed and fits in their world a little differently and with a new perspective.

Rapunzel and Eugene have an audience with the king and queen where it is revealed that Rapunzel is their daughter. Eugene is by her side, returning the crown. The king and queen welcome their daughter with joy and tears. They even include Eugene in the family group hug.

The kingdom is overjoyed that their lost princess has returned. We see the entire kingdom throwing a huge party. We learn that Rapunzel becomes a beloved ruler of her people with Eugene by her side. Eugene stops thieving and asks her to marry him…or she asks him? 

You get the idea.

Tangled beat sheet for romance writers

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