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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" 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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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" 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sebastien Castell

    If I were to stack up all the craft books I've bought over the years they would probably reach the ceiling of my office. If I were to stack up just the ones I found useful, they wouldn't be enough to prop a window open on a hot day. Suffice it to say, I'm doubtful there are any novel writing models I haven't heard of, or bought a book about, or attempted in one form or another. Hello, my name is Sebastien, and I'm a writing how-to book addict. For those interested in such things, the ones I've fo If I were to stack up all the craft books I've bought over the years they would probably reach the ceiling of my office. If I were to stack up just the ones I found useful, they wouldn't be enough to prop a window open on a hot day. Suffice it to say, I'm doubtful there are any novel writing models I haven't heard of, or bought a book about, or attempted in one form or another. Hello, my name is Sebastien, and I'm a writing how-to book addict. For those interested in such things, the ones I've found genuinely useful in my own practice have been Donald Maass's 'Writing 21st Century Fiction', Jeffrey Schechter's 'My Story Can Beat Up Your Story', John Truby's 'Anatomy of Story', Matt Bird's 'Secrets of Story' (never has one theory ever gotten so much mileage out of the concept of irony) and the umpteen Dramatica books and software editions out there (those starting out with Dramatica will do best by immersing themselves in NarrativeFirst.com which is filled with helpful avenues to enter the very deep and very dark cave that is Dramatica.) That's not a lot of books. The vast majority of the others have either been fluff ('let your inner bluebird sing its song!') or rehashes of Syd Field's classic 'Screenplay' book only with a new unhelpful metaphor added ('Master the secrets of the Story Wrench!', 'Build your Story GPS: Goodly Powerful Story!', 'Story Psychopath: Unleash Your Inner Writer's Block Killer With The Power Of Neuroscience!') [As an aside, if you want to write your own 'writing how-to' book, just find the table of contents from any of the other ones, rename the chapters, come up with an idiotic metaphor for the title, and tell everyone to write in three acts. Don't forget to mention that the three acts are 'beginning, middle, and end'. Whoa!] Okay, maybe this is turning into a little bit of a rant. Let me get back to this particular book. Save The Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody is an unusual one for me to recommend. I'm not exactly a "save the cat" guy. First, it began as a screenwriting model and I'm a novelist by profession, second, like most screenwriting models (and every possible variant of 'the hero's journey') it fails to account for the length and complexity of novels, and third, loads of people in the business will loathe you for even bringing up Save The Cat. The argument goes that innumerable young screenwriters are following the formula so closely that they're putting out repetitive garbage (I suppose my own thought on that is that they were putting out loads of garbage long before Save The Cat came along, just as they were before and are now putting out plenty of amazing, rich stories as well.) But here's the thing: none of that matters. What matters is if the model will help you get from "I could never write a book" to "Hey, look, here's my first novel." If there's one thing I'm passionate about in the world of writing it's that everyone has a book in them and writing that first book is an incredibly valuable experience regardless of whether it sells in exactly the same way that running your first marathon is an incredibly valuable experience whether or not you win the race. You run the marathon to make your body capable of new things, and you write the book to make your mind capable of new things. And here's where I think Jessica Brody's book comes into play: it's an excellent way to map out your first (or maybe seventeenth) novel and know that you're going to come to a satisfying conclusion at the end. She takes a writing model that tends to be convoluted and confusing by virtue of its bizarre terminology and yet makes it accessible, understandable, and practical. If you just read the table of contents of most writing books, they all look as if they'll take you from beginning to end in twelve easy steps. The problem is, once you start reading them, you realize the explanation is mostly hyperbolically vague nonsense ('Now you'll really blow the reader's mind with your plot twist, by twisting the plot when they least expect it!'), their examples are almost entirely drawn from movies rather than books, and they only skim the very surface of each idea, favouring repetition over clarification and analysis. I can honestly say I never really understood all the beats in Save The Cat until I read Jessica's book – and that matters, because they're nowhere nearly as simple or obvious as they first seem. Something like the 'midpoint' seems simple – a turn at the middle of the book – but when you realize it's either the culmination of an upward (i.e. positive for the main character) trajectory or a negative one (and thus will dictate your direction in the third quarter of the book), the notion of the midpoint takes on a more sophisticated and actionable meaning. Oh, and while many if not most of Brody's examples have been made into movies, she's pulling from the actual books, which is much more helpful for novelists. As a final note, Jessica Brody is, in fact, an accomplished and successful author in her own right. She doesn't write the kinds of books I read, but just reading sample chapters tells me she knows what she's doing, and given her works have been translated into a number of other languages and have done well for themselves shows that when she talks about writing commercially successful novels she's got the basis to back it up. As to criticisms? Well, I'm not in love with the rah-rah style of the writing, nor am I likely to become a Save The Cat enthusiast since my brain doesn't quite work that way. But Brody actually delivers on what she promises and does it in a way that shows both expertise in her craft and compassion for her audience. Someone struggling to plot a novel can genuinely go through the book and come out the other side with a story that makes sense and has at least a decent chance of being satisfying to readers. Anyone who can help those who want to write but are fearful of making the journey reach the finish line is a hero in my book. In case such things matter to anyone, I should point out that I don't know Jessica Brody personally and I paid for my copy of the book (twice, in fact – once on Amazon and once for my Kobo e-reader and I even bought her Udemy course).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    I’m very glad that my sister, who is also a published novelist, sort of forced me to read this book. She was looking for help with her second novel and kept asking me questions like whether she was doing a good enough job having the A and B storylines match up, except I didn’t know what she was talking about. This is a wonderful resource for novelists. I’ll definitely be using this book again and again as I edit and rework my works in progress. However, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch I’m very glad that my sister, who is also a published novelist, sort of forced me to read this book. She was looking for help with her second novel and kept asking me questions like whether she was doing a good enough job having the A and B storylines match up, except I didn’t know what she was talking about. This is a wonderful resource for novelists. I’ll definitely be using this book again and again as I edit and rework my works in progress. However, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch a movie or read a book ever again without thinking in terms things like the different genre Ms. Snyder outlines (not the typical genres we’re taught like mystery, romance, sci fi, but Buddy Love stories (The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You) and Underdog stories (The Triumphant Fool like Bridget Jones) or and Institutionalized (Jim Crow with The Help or women in The Handsmaid’s Tale). There are lots of tips to ensure the stakes for your characters are high enough and how they can have false victories or false defeats to keep the pacing strong. I highly recommend this book to aspiring and established writers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    While this book takes on the formula of Save the Cat from the screenwriting books it still has a very different soul. I've used the Save the Cat method to write my books for years, and was thrilled when I learned this book was coming. I read it all in one sitting, and despite many books built with the same 15 beats, I still managed to tag the thing to oblivion with new pieces of information that will make my novels better. Ms. Brody takes the tried and true methods and adapts them for the noveli While this book takes on the formula of Save the Cat from the screenwriting books it still has a very different soul. I've used the Save the Cat method to write my books for years, and was thrilled when I learned this book was coming. I read it all in one sitting, and despite many books built with the same 15 beats, I still managed to tag the thing to oblivion with new pieces of information that will make my novels better. Ms. Brody takes the tried and true methods and adapts them for the novelist. I will keep this on my desk and consult it before starting every single one of my books in the future.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie Zantopoulos

    I don't read a ton of non-fiction but I REALLY want to improve my writing and I've dedicated myself to reading more books on craft. This was a fantastic, informative, and super user-friendly look at structuring a novel and character development. LOVED it and will be referring back to it often. I don't read a ton of non-fiction but I REALLY want to improve my writing and I've dedicated myself to reading more books on craft. This was a fantastic, informative, and super user-friendly look at structuring a novel and character development. LOVED it and will be referring back to it often.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lea

    You too can write like Sophie Kinsella, if you follow this easy 15 step formula! Hurrah! This is how I'd sum up the first half of the book, wherein we are introduced to a system of "beats", which is a structure very similar to all the other creative writing structures out there, but it's sold like it's super unique somehow. Brody claims all good novels have this structure. Which is obviously not true. The second half of the book is made up of a bunch of novels broken down into these beats. There You too can write like Sophie Kinsella, if you follow this easy 15 step formula! Hurrah! This is how I'd sum up the first half of the book, wherein we are introduced to a system of "beats", which is a structure very similar to all the other creative writing structures out there, but it's sold like it's super unique somehow. Brody claims all good novels have this structure. Which is obviously not true. The second half of the book is made up of a bunch of novels broken down into these beats. There's Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, which I like, but there's also a lot of BAD books, that are partly bad because there are so incredibly formulaic and partly because they're horribly written. Why I would I want to learn to structure a novel like a boring Hollywood movie we all know the ending to the second it starts? Don't get me wrong, I believe 3 act structures and plotting can be helpful, and that's why I wanted a book to help me plot because I'm terrible at it. But this book was such a chore to get through and made me feel super depressed about writing. The chirpy buddy-buddy tone didn't help. I believe the structure presented in the book might be helpful, but I feel the way she presented it was very vague and not very applicable. I think you're better of looking for a book that just explains different classical plot structures without making them the end-all.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ☙ nemo ❧ (pagesandprozac)

    the absolute fucking holy grail.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hots Hartley

    Disappointed. The book contains a lot of fluff. Here are four specific reasons I didn't find the book as enlightening as expected, from the general to the specific: 1.) Generality of Advice: Before diving into the beat sheets, most advice was so vague and generalized I couldn't directly apply it to my work-in-progress. For example, "The A Story is the external story. It's the stuff that happens on the surface... it's the exciting stuff. The cool stuff." Then later that same chapter, "The life les Disappointed. The book contains a lot of fluff. Here are four specific reasons I didn't find the book as enlightening as expected, from the general to the specific: 1.) Generality of Advice: Before diving into the beat sheets, most advice was so vague and generalized I couldn't directly apply it to my work-in-progress. For example, "The A Story is the external story. It's the stuff that happens on the surface... it's the exciting stuff. The cool stuff." Then later that same chapter, "The life lesson is the inner journey that your hero didn't even know they were on, that will eventually lead them to the answer they never expected. The life lesson should be something universal." This kind of generality doesn't really help us plot our story at all; it needs to be translated into more specific steps, like in a grid or outline, with clear examples that aren't made to fit the peg. Too often, the examples that came in later chapters were bent to fit the generality than the other way around. It felt both vague (to the degree of inapplicability) and artificial (stories were not analyzed in depth, but rather bent around the 15 beats) at the same time. I think the author should have been more technical, with more tricks of the trade and fewer overarching slogans and truths. Even the beat sheets resorted to plot summary rather than digging deep into the internal (B) story. 2.) Language: The diction was too fluffy; where there were valuable nuggets of knowledge, the author's expressions wrapped them in largely useless fluff. For example, "Apparently, you need two Rs in your name to be successful in the quest genre." or "Is anyone else suddenly getting hungry?" or "We've all been kicked in the butt by life at some point or other." Reading the book felt like I was seated at a diner booth next to a table with a chatty girl on the phone. Every time something juicy came out, it was surrounded by chitter-chatter, casual slang and jokes that made me feel like the author couldn't take the content seriously and dissect it down with the depth we writers need. 3.) Categorization: The author lost me once she categorized Harry Potter as a Superhero story, with its theme as being the chosen one. Harry Potter is not a Superhero story; he has no super powers. The entire foundation of his survival of Voldemort's attack is the unconditional love and sacrifice his mother showed in protecting him i.e. love is immortal. If there is any theme in Harry Potter, it would be that love triumphs over death. Even as people like Harry's parents (and later friends) die, their love remains. Very little time or words in the book deal with Harry's powers, and the reason readers relate to Harry is his ordinary status as just another boy, who dislikes homework, wants to make friends, and doubts his own worth. Superhero is as far a characterization as you can get. 4.) Quality: The book seems like it wasn't ever professionally edited Spelling Nicolas Flamel "Nicholas Flammel" and Quirrel with one L and later two Ls on the same page (154). Referring to the hero in the plural with "them" and "their." Excessive use of exclamation points throughout. The book screamed unprofessionalism throughout and seemed like the author never took the time to really pay attention to details. Overall, I thought there were nuggets of knowledge sprinkled throughout the book, but to reach them, I had to fight through clouds of fluff and hordes of overgeneralities. More than anything, until the final two chapters, I never felt like I was ingesting material I could directly apply to my work, because it was so general. I would have preferred diving deeper into a single work, beat by beat, with the mapping of scenes or chapters to a plot outline or beat sheet, rather than trying to fit every book into the same 15 Save the Cat beats. Also, the virtual corkboard advertised on pages 280 and 281 -- an excellent visual aide -- as available on SaveTheCat.com costs money for a yearly subscription. It's not free, and it's not easy to find on the website. The upsell is obnoxious and makes the book feel incomplete. It should be a one-time simple download that comes with the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Edmund

    I've been aware of Snyder's 'Save the Cat' screenwriting advice for some time, and thusly was pretty intrigued/excited to see that the formula has been adapted for novels. Now don't be freaked out by the mention of the F-word! Brody successfully produces a piece that presents useful advice for both plotter and pantsers - the points raised in Save the Cat! are general enough to be helpful to most writers, without losing any impact from vagueness. In terms of writing advice the book mainly targets I've been aware of Snyder's 'Save the Cat' screenwriting advice for some time, and thusly was pretty intrigued/excited to see that the formula has been adapted for novels. Now don't be freaked out by the mention of the F-word! Brody successfully produces a piece that presents useful advice for both plotter and pantsers - the points raised in Save the Cat! are general enough to be helpful to most writers, without losing any impact from vagueness. In terms of writing advice the book mainly targets high level plotting, e.g. 3-act structure and 'big' beat sheets. There is a small amount of introductory chapters on characterizations, however the real meat of the book is in the beat-sheets and analysis of different published "genre" works. (in this book genre isn't like fantasy/romance, Brody is talking about types of story, e.g. chosen hero, underdog, buddy, monster). Unlike other writing books I never really felt overwhelmed with the presented material, and felt almost instantly helped by the piece - most 'on writing' non-fiction I need to reflect on and process to make full sense of them (and/or I'm just so overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have to keep in mind when writing) - In Save the Cat! I felt like the material was challenging and painted a realistic picture, in a way that was motivating and fun. In short, while the book is a little audacious, and I'm sure some people will come up with exceptions to the proposed formulas or genres, its a real must read for novel writers!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    So I definitely skimmed/skipped to parts of this book. Some may say it shouldn't be counted as read but you know what? SCREW THEM THIS IS MY LIFE! Anyway. This book is BRILLIANT and I am so happy I bought it. Even though I know it won't work for all writers, it has already been IMMENSELY helpful in opening up my mind and giving me more tools to work on novel writing. I have such a hard time with plotting books and this book makes it all so simple? Of course I haven't actually sat down to use the So I definitely skimmed/skipped to parts of this book. Some may say it shouldn't be counted as read but you know what? SCREW THEM THIS IS MY LIFE! Anyway. This book is BRILLIANT and I am so happy I bought it. Even though I know it won't work for all writers, it has already been IMMENSELY helpful in opening up my mind and giving me more tools to work on novel writing. I have such a hard time with plotting books and this book makes it all so simple? Of course I haven't actually sat down to use the tips yet but...I'm confident they'll make a difference. DEFINITELY RECOMMEND TO WRITERS EVERYWHERE!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Stimpson

    Having read all three of Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat" books (and loved them), I seriously debated whether or not it was necessary to read this one, too. I am so glad I did. It's already highlighted up and sticky noted all over the place. Although novelists have been using the Save the Cat screenwriting method for a long time, this is the first book that actually applies the method to novel writing. And it has made all the difference in my head. I was pleased to see lists and lists of novels tha Having read all three of Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat" books (and loved them), I seriously debated whether or not it was necessary to read this one, too. I am so glad I did. It's already highlighted up and sticky noted all over the place. Although novelists have been using the Save the Cat screenwriting method for a long time, this is the first book that actually applies the method to novel writing. And it has made all the difference in my head. I was pleased to see lists and lists of novels that I have read that help me understand how the beats work in contemporary novels as well as classic novels, in long novels as well as short novels, and in novels of all different genres (both STC genres and traditional genres). This book has cleared up mysteries about how many scenes should each beat be in a novel? How to deal with reimaginings of other stories? How to plot out novels in a trilogy and even longer series? And even more importantly, how to write pitches and short synopsis and how to use those tools to discover holes in your plot. I have written ten novels. I have used Save the Cat on two of them. I have yet to write a successful plot. I don't know why I'm such a remedial learner when it comes to plot, but after reading Brody's book, I feel excited to try again! Wish me luck!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sci-Fi & Scary

    Excellent book that I highly recommend. Made things makes sense to me that I'd seen before but didn't quite comprehend. Excellent book that I highly recommend. Made things makes sense to me that I'd seen before but didn't quite comprehend.

  12. 4 out of 5

    R.K. Gold

    I am walking around my apartment and voice texting into my phone so if there are any typos I am sorry A close friend of mine said this was the worst book they have ever read. This is why we toasty to always listen to our friends because I fucking loved it. As far as building elements towards creating a compelling story, this is one of the most straightforward and direct craft books I have read. It not only broke down the original beats from the original book, but then applied it to 10 different ge I am walking around my apartment and voice texting into my phone so if there are any typos I am sorry A close friend of mine said this was the worst book they have ever read. This is why we toasty to always listen to our friends because I fucking loved it. As far as building elements towards creating a compelling story, this is one of the most straightforward and direct craft books I have read. It not only broke down the original beats from the original book, but then applied it to 10 different generic genres and further specified it by breaking down the original beats into 10 examples of fiction in those 10 different genres. By the end of the book I was ready to write a dozen novels at once. My one piece of advice when reading this book is accept you’re not going to retain all the information the first time around and prepare to revisit it as needed as you dive into different genres. It’s kind enough to make each genre its own chapter so you can find your place quite easily as needed. Best of all when you are done it also has a section on log lines and synopses so you can apply it to your own marketing plan (or pitch)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ana Guerra

    4.75* I think if you want to write a novel and have no clue where to start, my first recommendation is: try first on your own. There is nothing that can give you more satisfaction than to do research and learn on your own, try and try different methods until you find your own or even create your own. Read! Watch videos! Just try yourself first. Why do I say it? Because if you jump right into books like this, you’ll always believe this is the one and only formula and will never find your own way. T 4.75* I think if you want to write a novel and have no clue where to start, my first recommendation is: try first on your own. There is nothing that can give you more satisfaction than to do research and learn on your own, try and try different methods until you find your own or even create your own. Read! Watch videos! Just try yourself first. Why do I say it? Because if you jump right into books like this, you’ll always believe this is the one and only formula and will never find your own way. That said, my short review of the book: it’s quite good. It has interesting things to check, like the shard of glass thing for character development, the genres of the novel (which applies to every novel, doesn’t matter the genre), and the formula to plot. Since the original STC is about screenwriting, I started paying attention to moves and damn, they are worse than books: they all fall in the same formula over and over, just like the authors said. And while I don’t think ALL books fall into te formula, I do agree this is very helpful especially for those of us who struggle with the damn middle part. The steps for this STC writes a novel were more fun to me to study since I watched some of my fav youtubers made an experiment called STCexperiment to write a plot in 10 weeks with the help of the book and her public, and the book helped give some guidance through the way. It was an amazing time, and I confess I bought the book just because of that (and of course, many other writers recommended it). Would I use it? Definitely. Would I recommend it? Of course. Would I stick only to this? No way. Writing is a type of art, and like every artist, we need to find our own ways to do it. This type of books are guides and things we read to find out what works for us and what doesn’t, but we don’t stick to other authors’ formulas. We need to create our own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    A. S.

    GAH! Why did it take me so long to freaking read this book?! It was perfection! I will re-read this every single time I plan a novel.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Great expansion on the original book by Blake Snyder, which dealt with screenwriting technique. Though I've read that one too, I didn't find it entirely applicable to novels. This book takes it that extra step, and since many books become screenplays, the two play off each other nicely. While this book isn't going to help you write literary masterpieces, it will make for a great tool to use while outlining a book or to help with brainstorming ideas. Including the suggested elements will help ens Great expansion on the original book by Blake Snyder, which dealt with screenwriting technique. Though I've read that one too, I didn't find it entirely applicable to novels. This book takes it that extra step, and since many books become screenplays, the two play off each other nicely. While this book isn't going to help you write literary masterpieces, it will make for a great tool to use while outlining a book or to help with brainstorming ideas. Including the suggested elements will help ensure page-turning plotting. That being said, not every story will fit so nicely into this "15 essential plot points " approach, and writers may find their stories cross between the ten discussed genres. Still, its contents should definitely help create the ground-floor architecture for a well-structured novel.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael Perkins

    I am assisting my friend with a detailed developmental edit on her novel and using this as an excellent resource for that. The book emphasizes and gives strong guidance on story structure. The goal for the reader is to develop what the author calls beat sheets, very detailed plotting of the character and story arcs. A few months ago, I took a writing course through adult ed. It was all wrong. It was just a grab bag of techniques without an overall story-telling strategy, as well as some concepts I am assisting my friend with a detailed developmental edit on her novel and using this as an excellent resource for that. The book emphasizes and gives strong guidance on story structure. The goal for the reader is to develop what the author calls beat sheets, very detailed plotting of the character and story arcs. A few months ago, I took a writing course through adult ed. It was all wrong. It was just a grab bag of techniques without an overall story-telling strategy, as well as some concepts that are significantly out of date. I think this book is distinctly more helpful for writers than "A Hero With A Thousand Faces" and "The Writer's Journey" and pretty much any other bo0k I've read on writing. The author uses contemporary novels as examples, but the structure she is laying out in detail could apply to Homer (especially the Odyssey), The Epic of Gilgamesh, as well as The Divine Comedy. She rightly assumes that we like stories. So what's an effective way of telling a story? Some are concerned about following a formula. The author addresses this. But, look, it's still YOUR story you are writing, with YOUR hero and YOUR characters. The challenge is to connect with readers in YOUR writing of it. Just finished. A primary emphasis is on the psychological depth of the main character in the book that one writes. What is her character like at the outset of the story? What does she go through and where does she end up? Is she changed? Is she wiser? Does she understand herself and others better? Has she solved personal problems as a result of her journey? The author uses Jane Austen as well as contemporary examples to illustrate this. But for modern readers this is laid out in an active style, where the story is always in motion. There are no drawing room scenes. The main character must act for the story go forward and complete its arc and for her to reach her destination.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Dagenais

    This book is about strategies to help you build an exciting story. It has really help me outlining my novel and I highly recommend it!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gabe Novoa

    This is how you write an effective book on plotting. There’s a lot to love about this, not the least of which is that it is not at all prescriptivist. Brody understands that no one method will work perfectly for everyone, and that there are many ways to approach building a book, even using the same tools. Chock full of loads of examples of various structures and a helpful final chapter to give you an idea of where to begin, I found SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL to be incredibly useful. I know I’l This is how you write an effective book on plotting. There’s a lot to love about this, not the least of which is that it is not at all prescriptivist. Brody understands that no one method will work perfectly for everyone, and that there are many ways to approach building a book, even using the same tools. Chock full of loads of examples of various structures and a helpful final chapter to give you an idea of where to begin, I found SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL to be incredibly useful. I know I’ll be going back to page through this one again and again as I plot and revise my work.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I have to admit I didn't really finish this. The examinations of various books seem more like filler than help, and eventually I just skipped to the last chapter. I've read the other Save the Cat books, and in fact, I think in general - even though they're aimed at movie scripts - they were more helpful. Still, there are some good things here, but I'm not sure there's much more added to the general principles seen in the Blake Snyder books. I have to admit I didn't really finish this. The examinations of various books seem more like filler than help, and eventually I just skipped to the last chapter. I've read the other Save the Cat books, and in fact, I think in general - even though they're aimed at movie scripts - they were more helpful. Still, there are some good things here, but I'm not sure there's much more added to the general principles seen in the Blake Snyder books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sharon M. Peterson

    If you’re a writer, this book is immeasurably helpful. I’m not a big fan of craft books but this one is easily read and just makes sense to me. It also included a number of examples and that’s a big plus for me. Definitely a 5-star read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sofie (BooksbySofie)

    To every (novel) writer out there: get this book. It's the best book on writing I ever read and it pushed me to rethink and improve my (work in progress) novels. This is absolute magic. To every (novel) writer out there: get this book. It's the best book on writing I ever read and it pushed me to rethink and improve my (work in progress) novels. This is absolute magic.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Intisar Khanani

    I notice that I have a particular pattern whenever I sit down to edit a book... I panic and dive for the closest book on the craft of writing I can find. You would think after a certain number of my own books - and all the attendant rounds of edits each entails - I would start trusting myself. Let's just say panic isn't rational. The good news is that, since I'm not a research junkie and only took a couple of creative writing classes in school, these panic-reads have slowly provided me with the I notice that I have a particular pattern whenever I sit down to edit a book... I panic and dive for the closest book on the craft of writing I can find. You would think after a certain number of my own books - and all the attendant rounds of edits each entails - I would start trusting myself. Let's just say panic isn't rational. The good news is that, since I'm not a research junkie and only took a couple of creative writing classes in school, these panic-reads have slowly provided me with the language many of my fellow (mored educated) writers use. Thanks to Save The Cat! I now know what a three act structure is. Turns out I'm pretty good at writing it just from having read and practiced a great deal on my own. Overall, Save The Cat! provides some excellent insight on important aspects of any story, and provides a template for writing stories where the stakes keep rising to a fantastic crescendo. They also play to readers' expectations, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I would caution readers not to sacrifice their story to exactly follow their chosen template... which, frankly, the author also tells us, more or less. I just think it bears repeating. A quick, well-written primer on story structure and the various elements vital to different types of stories. Recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica C Writes

    this is my favorite book on writing to exist & i am never writing a book again without it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    I Blog A Little Bit Of Everything

    Okay, so I went into this book thinking that it would save all of my writing problems and it just didn’t. I went into this with high expectations that were not met. It has taken me two months to force my way through this book to the point where today I was practically yelling “I’m so happy. It’s nearly over!” The reason that this gets two stars instead of one is that the advice was actually helpful. Chapters one and two were really helpful and from there on it just goes downhill. The whole premis Okay, so I went into this book thinking that it would save all of my writing problems and it just didn’t. I went into this with high expectations that were not met. It has taken me two months to force my way through this book to the point where today I was practically yelling “I’m so happy. It’s nearly over!” The reason that this gets two stars instead of one is that the advice was actually helpful. Chapters one and two were really helpful and from there on it just goes downhill. The whole premise of this book is that it teaches you how to write a novel, but it does that by spoiling a book every other sentence. I could live with it in the first part just skipping the occasional paragraph, no big deal. But, when I got to chapter 5 onwards I was just so done. These chapters give you an insight into writing in a particular genre with broad and general advice and then end with an example. The issue? These examples gave you a play by play of an entire novel, spoiling everything there is to be spoiled. I skipped around 70ish pages in this book because I just didn’t want to be spoiled 😞 I think the concept is very good, and as I said the advice is solid and I will probably refer back to it at a later date. However, the execution could have been so much better. Had they just explained what would happen at each of the beats in each genre as opposed to just directing a novel (which can be helpful but just not by itself) I feel like I would have given this book a higher raising. I also found chapter 14 (pitch it to me) another let down as I expected so much more. The examples were briefly explained but in barely any detail. This book wasn’t terrible, but my main issue was the amount of books it spoiled within its pages.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelcy Davis

    I read this based on a recommendation from a friend and because I was intrigued by the idea of all stories having 15 beats. I have some knowledge of the 3-Act Structure and the Hero’s Journey and all of those structure styles you study in school, but this seemed like something I could get behind. As I read this book in bits and pieces as I also tried to complete NaNoWriMo, I found myself noticing the beats in the books and movies I consumed. So, I think it’s a great way to examine stories in gen I read this based on a recommendation from a friend and because I was intrigued by the idea of all stories having 15 beats. I have some knowledge of the 3-Act Structure and the Hero’s Journey and all of those structure styles you study in school, but this seemed like something I could get behind. As I read this book in bits and pieces as I also tried to complete NaNoWriMo, I found myself noticing the beats in the books and movies I consumed. So, I think it’s a great way to examine stories in general! I also liked how many examples were included in this. I am someone who learns from examples, so having them laid out for each section of the book made it easier for me to see how the concepts can be applied and utilized. I also liked that the book included advice for how to apply these directly to my writing. The troubleshooting section at the end was also nice to read because it gives some concrete steps to take when you get stuck. This book does a great job of taking you from beginning to end of the novel writing process without prescribing a formula or set style but also providing steps to take at each point you reach.

  26. 4 out of 5

    William Aicher

    Phenomenal resource on understanding the basics of story structure. Turns it into something you can more easily manage if you are struggling with forming a story that engages the reader. Definitely found a lot to consider here to improve my own writing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Like most advice books, some parts are quite helpful, others only vaguely apply to me. Definitely interesting to see the way Brody categorizes novels and breaks them into parts, but this isn't something I expect to change much about my personal writing process. Read for class. Like most advice books, some parts are quite helpful, others only vaguely apply to me. Definitely interesting to see the way Brody categorizes novels and breaks them into parts, but this isn't something I expect to change much about my personal writing process. Read for class.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tym

    This book at first, seemed to me, wasn't telling me anything I didn't know. Those well-known little writing tricks you learn along the way all come up in this how-to book of plotting a novel. By the time I was finished with the 15 beats the bigger picture hit me and it really helped me hone in my focus on what was important and leave behind some of these unnecessary scenes I was clinging to. In reality, though the thing that helped me the most was being able to break it down and make it seem man This book at first, seemed to me, wasn't telling me anything I didn't know. Those well-known little writing tricks you learn along the way all come up in this how-to book of plotting a novel. By the time I was finished with the 15 beats the bigger picture hit me and it really helped me hone in my focus on what was important and leave behind some of these unnecessary scenes I was clinging to. In reality, though the thing that helped me the most was being able to break it down and make it seem manageable. It took some of the fear and feeling of being overwhelmed out of the process. I will be keeping this around to go back to when I am struggling with a writing project. One of the things that really stood out to me was "Don't be afraid to write crap, crap makes great fertilizer." Meaning to not give in to the fear of writers' block (or as she referred to it in here Perfectionist's block) and just get something written. Your future self can handle it since that is what they do best. The final words of encouragement were a little cheesy but still appreciated. I recommend this as a helpful guide to anyone struggling to write a novel, especially if it is your first one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Crimson Sparrow

    There are two books every aspiring author should read: This one and Bickham's Scene and Structure. These are also required reading for those who help authors: Beta readers, critique partners, and editors. One simply cannot talk craft without the language and concepts of these books. There are two books every aspiring author should read: This one and Bickham's Scene and Structure. These are also required reading for those who help authors: Beta readers, critique partners, and editors. One simply cannot talk craft without the language and concepts of these books.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tanya Gold

    Read this for a different kind of breakdown of genres and reader expectations. Read this to get some insight into blockbuster structure. Follow the advice if you are looking to write a book with a structure that is comfortable and somewhat predictable (no judgement—these kinds of books are cool).

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