Resources For Beginning Writers: Save The Cat!
Save The Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody
If the front cover of the book isn’t enough to grab your attention, then I’m sure all the testimonies and Instagram posts would certainly lure you in. Hint hint. This book is a fantastic resource and you won’t regret reading it, ever!
Save The Cat! Writes a Novel written by Jessica Brody is derived from books of a similar title by Blake Snyder that have helped screenwriters write successful movies for years. All Jessica Brody has done is expand upon the same idea in an adaptation focused on the writing of novels.
So, what’s the books purpose?
Save the Cat! attempts to correct the mindset of amateur and experienced writers alike. It provides you the necessary tools to improve your craft and write something that is soothing on a page and to the eyes of a reader. If you’re having trouble with book blurbs or short synopsis’s, then look no further. Save the Cat! Is the answer to all your writing problems.
One of the things I carried with me from Save the Cat!, was a new understanding of how story structure works. I know now, that this knowledge doesn’t come naturally to us. It was taught to me though these pages over the course of several chapters. This was my first victory and the first of many Ah-ha moments.
This far in my life, there hasn’t been a montage of amazing writing sessions or off-hand chances at the luck that made my books an instant bestseller on the New York Times List. The phrase “writers aren’t born, they are made” cannot be any closer to the truth I live now. Sadly, we don’t fully understand what that means until we’re hit with a reality check. Well, this book can be that reality check for you in some ways as it was for me.
This book gave me three important questions:
Prior to this read, I’d come off the heels of my first writing adventure, Out of Curiosity, and I was deep into what seemed like the fourteenth draft at that point before I began asking myself questions. Does my story structure matter at all? Will my bad story structure break my novel?
To test my doubt, I’d decided to had to go through as many beta readers as possible to gather information. The results were just as I thought. Almost all of my beta readers came out saying the same thing. “Structure? What structure?”
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit let down when I review the first couple of forms of feedback. They said the story structure in my book was awful. It didn’t make any sense and after reading it, I couldn’t have agreed more. The story felt like a pointless Hollywood cash grab like the ones that are typically reboots or reimaginings. There was no structure holding up the story and the characters were dull as dirt. It was discouraging, to say the least, but then I heard about Save the Cat! from my writing friends.
I immediately placed a hold on it at my local library and once the wealth of knowledge was in my hands, I read and I read. I took notes, made astonishing discoveries, and even felt letdown about my writing style while reading, but something happened.
I was no longer focused on the big picture of becoming a successful writer, it was at that moment that I just wanted to be a good writer. Success was my primary objective, but it should have been learning and improvement.
And after that moment I dedicated myself to education on the craft. If I wanted to be any good at it, I had to learn it first. I had already made all the mistakes, so now it was time to do all the real work. Simply doing what I had been doing for so long wasn’t going to work anymore. My fake it until you make it mantra had failed me. It only took my 75,344 words and four years of work to realize that.
Enter the Save the Cat! Beat Sheet
The proven method of the 15 beats will help guide you along your written journey and put you on the path to success. Jessica Brody not only goes over them completely in detail but she also offers templates on her website here. She includes examples from popular books to help guide you through understanding.
Here are the first 5 Beats:
The strongest part of any book is an opening. The opening of any novel needs to hook the readers as soon as possible. Literary Agents and Publishers will often only read the first couple of chapters if that. I cannot stress the importance of the opening of a book. This was one of the areas that needed a lot of improvement from my own work. The opening is always tricky because you’re still trying to figure out what your story will be, and usually it won’t arrive until your finished with it. More often than not, you’ll change a large portion of the beginning part of your book once you’ve written the ending.
All in all, my piece of advice is to think critically about the first 5 beats of your story (the opening of your book). They set a lot of things up that will come in later chapters and they will always be your reader’s first impressions of your work. You gotta sell em’ quick!
Now the rest of the beats can be found inside the book. I encourage all those who are just starting out or have been writing for years, to give this book a read. If you read through it and already knew most of it, good for you! But if you’re like me, then you’re going to learn a lot more than you signed up for, and you’re going to want to tell your writer friends about it just like me!
Do you need a beta reading for an upcoming project? Looking for someone to give you honest feedback about your work in progress?
Look no further! I will give you the feedback you’re honestly looking for and the feedback you never thought you’d need. Via Fiverr, I will proofread your work, create written content, and perhaps score you an awesome dream job!
As an avid writer myself, I’ve worked on short stories, poetry, and written a book. I’ve taken various college courses revolving around the ideology behind fictional writing and English proficiency. In my spare time, I enjoy reading just as much as I do writing with fantasy being my biggest genre consumed. I’ve assisted in my day job working for the State of Washington with many content writing projects that were targeted towards leaning the number of words into a much more manageable communication style. I look forward to tackling any project that meets my desk.