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Save the Cat! Writes a Novel
The Last Book on Novel Writing that You’ll Ever Need
Written by Jessica Brody
According to the introduction to the book Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing that You’ll Ever Need, in 2006 Jessica Brody was handed a copy of Blake Snyder’s book Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, and it changed the way she wrote. She studied the book intensively, and then, with just a few adaptions and tweaks, she began using Blake’s fifteen-beat template to structure her novels. Since that time, Jessica has written several successful novels, two of which are in development to become films. For several years she taught intensive workshops on how to use this system before writing the book, and it shows.
This well-crafted piece of work not only defines and clarifies the fifteen beats of a story as outlined in the original Save the Cat! Books, but it also explains a bit about how to structure the beats and why each beat works where it does in storytelling. After covering structure, Jessica introduces us to the genres of the Save the Cat! World. Instead of genre headings like Romance, Comedy, or Drama, we are given several new genres, including, among others, Dude with a Problem, Out of the Bottle, and Fool Triumphant. Each of these new genres is given its own chapter in which to shine.
Readers receive in-depth information about the genre along with three essential ingredients for each category and several examples of novels that fit in one. At the end of each chapter, a well-known published novel in that category is analyzed and broken down into the fifteen Save the Cat! Beats. She rounds out the book with extra tips and hints that will help make your hero more relatable, make it easier to craft your novel’s logline and synopsis, and gives you suggestions on how to apply the structure to a series of novels.
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is an extremely information-dense book, but it’s written in a casual, conversational tone which makes it easier to digest. The book was packed full of actionable advice that I was able to use right away to help refine the structure of my work.
Like the majority of books on writing, this is meant to be a guide to refine and polish your work rather than a rigid instruction manual. The information about character development and relationships covered in these pages makes it a worthwhile read no matter how strictly you stick to the script. While this is not likely to be the last book on novel writing that I will ever read, it will definitely be kept handy on my office bookshelf.
You can get your own copy of Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need on the author’s website.
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