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Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You'll Ever Need

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9780399579745: Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You'll Ever Need
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The first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, which reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.

Novelist Jessica Brody presents a comprehensive story-structure guide for novelists that applies the famed Save the Cat! screenwriting methodology to the world of novel writing. Revealing the 15 "beats" (plot points) that comprise a successful story--from the opening image to the finale--this book lays out the Ten Story Genres (Monster in the House; Whydunit; Dude with a Problem) alongside quirky, original insights (Save the Cat; Shard of Glass) to help novelists craft a plot that will captivate--and a novel that will sell.

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About the Author:

JESSICA BRODY worked for MGM Studios as manager of acquisitions and business development before becoming an internationally best-selling author of more than fifteen novels for teens, tweens, and adults including The Geography of Lost Things, The Chaos of Standing Still, A Week of Mondays, and Better You Than Me. She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants. Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and Unremembered and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father are currently being developed for film through Reliance Entertainment by the producers of Zero Dark Thirty and Slumdog Millionaire. She travels the country teaching Save the Cat! workshops to novelists.
 

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:


The Beginning . . . 


So, let’s get this party started. We’ve got a big journey ahead of us, and I, for one, am antsy to get moving.

First things first. What do you need? At the very least, you need an idea for a novel. It doesn’t have to be a huge idea. It can be a seed of an idea, it can be a twinkle of an idea. It can even be a character that interests you, or a collection of inspiring thoughts that you hope to somehow string together. Perhaps you’ve got an idea but you don’t know if it’s worth writing. You don’t know if it “has legs” as they say in the film industry. Can it go the distance? Can it really carry you through three hundred-plus pages of prose?

Or you might already have a novel fully or partially written that’s not working, that you know you have to revise. Or maybe you’ve started a book and don’t know where it’s going and now you’re stuck and in need of some inspiration.

Regardless of your specific situation, I’m excited to have you along for the journey. Here’s a quick breakdown of what we’ll be covering in the following chapters (the structure of this book on structure, if you will):

   1. THE HERO: First, in chapter 1, we’ll talk about the main character or “hero” of your story, who they are, and why they are desperately in need of transformation.

   2. THE BEATS: In chapter 2, we’ll explore the fifteen beats of the Save the Cat! Beat Sheet in great detail so you can begin to map out the compelling, transformative journey of your novel. 

   3. THE GENRES: Then, in chapters 3–13, we’ll identify the genre of your story using the ten Save the Cat! story genres. These are not your mother’s genres (sci-fi, drama, comedy, and so on). Instead, the Save the Cat! story genres are broken down by type of character transformation and/or central theme. This will help you further develop your novel and make sure your story contains the necessary “genre ingredients” to make it successful. Also in these chapters, I’ll give you ten beat sheets for popular blockbuster novels (one for each story genre), so you can see how the fifteen beats apply to some of today’s most successful books.

   4. THE PITCH: By chapter 14, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what your novel is about,
which will help you distill the story down into a one-page description (the synopsis) and furthermore, into a one-sentence description (the logline) that you can use to pitch agents, editors, publishers, readers, and even movie producers.

   5. THE FAQ: Despite the awesomeness and thoroughness of the previous chapters, I guarantee you’ll have problems along the way. Which is why, in chapter 15, I give you practical solutions to the six most common problems novelists face when implementing the Save the Cat! methodology.

What About the Cat?


But wait! We forgot one important thing. The question that I’m sure has been on your mind from the moment you first heard about this book or picked it up in the bookstore.

Why on earth is it called “Save the Cat!”?

The answer dates back to the original Save the Cat! book, in which Blake Snyder included several cleverly titled tips on how to avoid common pitfalls of storytelling. “Save the cat!” is one of these tips. If your main character starts off somewhat unlikable, then, in the early pages of your story, they should save a cat (yes, like from a tree or a burning  building or a shelter), or do something comparable that immediately makes the reader root for them, regardless of their original likability. 

We’ll talk more about cats and how to save them in chapter 15, when we break down some of the most common problems writers face when implementing the Save the Cat! methodology. Additionally, throughout this book, I’ve included several new tips and tricks specifically for novelists to help you improve your story. 

So, let’s get on with it already. Your main character is waiting, and they have a huge problem . . .

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