5 Reasons to Get Excited about Save the Cat!® Writes a Novel
Hello cats! Jessica Brody here! So you may or may not have heard, but a few months ago, we announced the big news that many novelists have been waiting for for a very long time: the upcoming release of Save the Cat!® Writes a Novel, a new installment in the Save the Cat!® book series, geared specifically toward novel writing!
That’s right! I’m teaming up with the fine folks at Blake Snyder Enterprises to expand the Save the Cat! methodology into the world of novel writing and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Especially since I’ve been using Save the Cat! to outline my novels for years (click here to see a beat sheet from one of my novels, posted on SavetheCat.com).
In fact, I didn’t even sell my first novel until I started using Save the Cat! to help me plot, and since then I’ve sold over 15 novels to major publishers. So yeah, clearly I’m a fan.
I’m now hard at work writing the book, which will be released from Ten Speed Press/Random House in Fall 2018, but until then, I wanted to give fans of Save the Cat! a little sneak peek at some of the stuff you have to look forward to in this book.
[Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to find out how to receive your FREE “Save the Cat!® Writes a Novel Starter Kit!”]
So here are 5 Reasons to Get Excited about Save the Cat!® Writes a Novel:
1) Novel Beat Sheets Galore!
If you’re familiar with the original Save the Cat! books for screenwriters, they feature beat sheets, or plot breakdowns, for popular movies so you can see how the 15 beats fit into various famous films. And now in this book there are going to be more than 20 beat sheets for popular novels throughout time, from classics to modern bestsellers. Anyone’s who’s taken any of my workshops knows that I’m a huge fan of teaching with examples, and I don’t think the 15 beats fully make sense until you can see how they fit into one of your favorite novels. This is going to be a crucial element of the book and a key step in the process of adapting this methodology for novel writing
2) New Fun Writer Terms!
If you’ve read any of Blake Snyder’s original books—Save the Cat!®, Save the Cat!® Goes to the Movies, or Save the Cat!® Strikes Back—then you know that Blake packed those books full of clever and helpful screenwriting and storytelling tricks that have become endearingly known as “Blake-isms” to some of his fans. These are tricks like “Pope in the Pool,” “Double Mumbo Jumbo” and the title tip, “Save the Cat!” Although the new book will feature a lot of these Blake-isms, there will also be a whole slew of new terms that I’ve created specifically to help novelists deal with common novel-writing pitfalls and problems.
3) The 10 Story Genres… for Novelists!
If you’re not familiar with the original books, let me catch you up quickly. Blake Snyder created these amazing “story genres” to help us identify what kind of story we’re writing. And these are not your mother’s genres. We’re not talking about sci-fi, western, comedy, etc. These are genres like “Dude with a Problem” and “Monster in the House” and “Fool Triumphant!” They’re specific to what kind of character arc or character transformation you’re plotting.
These genres are really great for helping you figure out how to make your specific story work. Because surprise! There are really only TEN story genres…in like the whole world. Every book from Pride and Prejudice to The Shining to The Martian fits into one of these story genres. And I guarantee you, your story does too. Identifying these genres can be crucial in helping you design your plot and your character’s transformative journey. So yes, Save the Cat!® Writes a Novel will feature the ten story genres and it will include beat sheets from popular novels for every genre to help you determine what genre your novel fits into.
4) Unique Workshop Structure!
The next reason for you to get excited about Save the Cat!® Writes a Novel, is that it’s going to be structured like one of my Save the Cat! for novelist workshops. For the past seven years or so, I’ve been teaching in-person workshops on how to use Save the Cat! to plot and write a novel. My workshops are structured very specifically to help novelists understand the Save the Cat! methodology and learn how to apply it to their own stories. And I’ve taken that same structure and applied it to this book. So when Save the Cat!® Writes a Novel releases in stores, it’ll be like getting to take a Save the Cat! workshop from the comfort of your own living room.
5) The Five-Point Finale for Novelists!
So here’s the story about the Five-Point Finale: Blake Snyder wrote the first Save the Cat! book back in 2005. And it was amazing and everyone loved it and used it and talked about it. But there was one tiny problem. In the second to last beat, “the Finale,” Blake kind of left us hanging a little. He basically said, “And here’s the finale! Where you wrap everything up!” And we were all like, “Uh…thanks a lot? That’s not super helpful.”
And he, himself, admits that wasn’t super helpful in his third book, Save the Cat!® Strikes Back where he redeems himself by giving us the gift of the Five-Point Finale, which essentially breaks down the Finale beat into 5 “mini beats.” And they are a game changer. A life saver! As soon as Blake bestowed us with the Five-Point Finale, it made finishing my novels so much easier. Now I use the Five-Point Finale in all of my novels and every single time it saves my whole third act. So thank you, Blake, for that! Obviously Save the Cat!® Writes a Novel is going to include the gloriousness that is the Five-Point Finale and I’m going to teach you how it can be adapted and applied to novel writing. Plus, I’ll show you how it fits into popular novels that you know and love.
So those are 5 reasons to get excited about Save the Cat!® Writes a Novel, coming Fall 2018 from Ten Speed Press.
If you can’t wait until 2018, because honestly, who can? Click here to visit my website where I’m giving away a FREE “Save the Cat!® Writes a Novel Starter Kit” which includes an intro to the 15 beats, plus 3 novel beat sheets from popular novels to get you started.
I’m excited but that’s a long time to wait!
- Liana LeFey
I’m all in for this! You gave my RWA chapter the talk earlier this year, and I can’t tell you how many people loved it and are using what they learned to great effect. I’m so glad this is a real “thing” now, and that novelists will have something to which they can refer that’s tailored to their specific needs.
Oh boy!!! I am super excited. I’ve been haunting some poor fellow a couple of times a year asking for a book for novelists. This is exactly what I’ve been waiting to happen? I just wish it was sooner.
Very excited! I’m looking forward to reading it!
Out of curiosity, will you cover how to use the STC methodology with book series? Especially when it comes to the character transformation. Can a character keep experiencing transformation after 5 novels or more?
- Jessica Brody
Hi Rob! Yes, this topic will be covered! Thanks for your comment! :)
- Rachel T.
Congratulations on the book, Jessica! Looking forward to reading it. :D
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Super excited by this and super excited by the growth and expansion of the STC brand!