Sunday, September 1, 2019

Save The Cat

For years, I've been using Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet from his Save The Cat book to formulate my novels. It's basically for screenwriting, but I've found it quite useful in plotting out the basics of my stories. I can quickly fill in a beat sheet and determine if I have enough of a story line for a complete 70,000 word product. If I'm successful in filling in all the boxes, I'll go forward.

I was in the middle of the second book in my Revolutionary War series when life interrupted my orderly days. I abandoned the project for weeks, and then, when I was finally ready to get back into it, I couldn't get a grasp on what came next. One of my writing buddies suggested I take a look at the next version of Save The Cat. It's designed specifically for novel writing, not screenplays. I bought the book, thinking I'd apply it to the story I had written thus far. I'm probably at 25,000 words, so I've got a lot of material to filter through. 

So, the other day, I brought up the first chapter. Following along with the Novel version of Save The Cat, I got through the setup for the heroine and moved on to the next part of the first act, where the theme must be stated. According to the book, "a character (usually not the hero) will make a statement or pose a question to your hero or heroine that somehow relates to what the person needs to learn by the end of the story." I was already in trouble. 

I already had a secondary character in the scene, so I used him to pose the question to the heroine. Reading through the scene again, I quickly saw how much stronger the scene had become by my additional words, which fleshed out the secondary character and put the heroine on edge with his summation. Now I have to do the same with the hero. 

For all you writers who follow this blog, I highly recommend this craft book. Save The Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody not only saved the cat, but may have saved my book. Thanks, MJ, for the suggestion. 

No comments:

Post a Comment