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Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  7,750 Ratings  ·  837 Reviews
This ultimate insider's guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who's proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!
Paperback, 195 pages
Published May 25th 2005 by Michael Wiese Productions (first published 2005)
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Lyndon Hardy Hi Deborah. I agree with Marianne Knowles. It is a great book for fiction as well.
-Lyndon Hardy
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CC
Nov 13, 2009 CC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm torn about how many stars to give this book. If you are completely new to screenwriting, then this would be a five-star book. Otherwise, I'll give it four because it's easy to understand and allows you to start breaking down the movies you watch quite easily.

However, if you've written screenplays and understand basic three act structure, the advice is a little naive -- as in, "The Theme has to be stated on page 5." "Page 30 is where the 'B' story comes in." Well, maybe, but not really in a l
...more
Thompson
While this book is a clever and succinct reduction of Hollywood story structure, it is not well-served by its snarky, priggish author, who with every page radiates the very same sort of smug, too-cool attitude that the rest of the world associates with Los Angeles. That he is smart, I have no doubts, especially after reading his reduction of modern movies. Indeed, he is so smart that I will soon pick up his next book, Save the Cat Goes to the Movies. But just as his intelligence and skill are a ...more
K.M. Weiland
Nov 20, 2013 K.M. Weiland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a novelist, the more I read screenwriting books, the more I love them. Straightforward, no-nonsense, and endlessly applicable, they cut through the fluff and offer practical tips for writing better stories. Snyder's beloved Save the Cat! is certainly no different. He entertains even as he shares tips on structure and character and little, memorable bits such as his "Save the Cat" and "Keep the Press Out" slogans.

Is there a bit of formulaism here? Sure. But even for authors who completely balk
...more
Stephen Worman
Dec 02, 2010 Stephen Worman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hack advice given by a hack writer. While it's nice to see the business side of writing examined, it would have been better (i.e. something approaching "acceptable") to have it examined by a competent writer. If your only two credits for screenwriting are "Blank Check" and the so-bad-Sylvester-Stallone-apologized-for-his-role-in-its-creation "Stop Or My Mother Will Shoot", you have no place writing a book on the subject. Even the non-creative side is uninspired rehashes of common sense advice (F ...more
Nicholas Karpuk
Some people who can't really should teach.

Blake Snyder mentions on several occasions that he sold a screenplay to Steven Spielberg for a million dollars at one point. Impressive right?

Then he ruins it by describing his story. It was called "Nuclear Family" and involved a family who camped by a nucleur test site, gaining super powers.

I'm rather glad that failed, and then "The Incredibles" happened instead.

Blake Snyder's ideas are consistently awful. He's the scribe responsible for "Blank Check"
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Jeffrey Johnson
Jun 23, 2009 Jeffrey Johnson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of people swear by this book, but I think it's just terrible. If you want to write movies, there is a great deal to be gained by learning about the three-act structure. That being said, though, Blake Snyder will teach you a micro-managed form of it that forces you to meet a very specific and frankly obnoxious rubric.

Snyder says specifically in his book that if he turns to one of the pages where he says X should happen and X doesn't happen, he immediately dismisses the script. Though he pro
...more
Alexa
Apr 12, 2013 Alexa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My critique partner swears by this book, and in fact has been holding my revision notes ransom until I read it! :) She was kind enough to gift me with a copy, so I hunkered down and zipped through.

It was a punchy, fast read--the margins are freakishly large, so it's not *really* a 150 page book; it reads like 100 pager. The writing style is at times annoying, but it's readable. As a novelist, as opposed to a screenwriter, a lot of the specific advice in Save the Cat is useless -- such as "you mu
...more
Alex West
Save the Cat: The Last Book on Writing Painfully Banal PG-13 Hollywood Comedies You’ll Ever Need

This book provides the perfect guide to writing movies I loathe.

Key example movies in this book made me want to hurl pointy objects at the screen when I saw them. I haven’t succumbed to this urge to inflict criminal damage at my local multiplex (yet), but it remains an attractive fantasy.

It may be true that Miss Congeniality and Elf made good money at the box office, but you know what? If I’m going to
...more
Samantha Luce
It was good. Not worth all the hype though. Blake Snyder made it easy to follow. It's helpful not just for screenwriting but any sort of writing.
Joshua Rigsby
This book gets poo pooed a lot in critical/literary/artistic circles for being a perfect encapsulation of everything that's wrong with Hollywood. These criticisms are not unjustified.

Snyder sets out a systematic, formulaic strategy for writing a screenplay that hits all of the same tired plot points we've seen a million times. Take a big budget studio movie, break it down minute by minute, and almost without exception every plot point hits at the exact minute mark Snyder describes. Save the Cat
...more
Léonard Gaya
Nov 12, 2016 Léonard Gaya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a "how to" handbook, targeting aspiring screenwriters, composed by a man who actually has some track record in writing comedy scripts for Hollywood.

It basically guides the reader through all the stages of writing for the movie industry: how to turn an idea into a marketable "logline"; how to fall within a given genre (Snyder suggests an interesting genres taxonomy, based on what actually happens in the story); how to build a protagonist (again, he offers an original vision of characters
...more
Robert Kroese
Blake Snyder is supposedly “Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriter.” I don’t know how that works exactly, since he has exactly two IMDB credits (for Blank Check and Stop or My Mom Will Shoot), but whatever.

Save the Cat is basically a book full of little gimmicks for improving a screenplay, as well as pitfalls to avoid. The title comes from the idea of having the hero of the story save a cat early on in the movie to establish his/her likability. It sounds silly, but the examples Snyder giv
...more
Melissa Storm
Feb 04, 2017 Melissa Storm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended by my good friend and fellow author, Bonnie Paulson. Don't let the fact that it's aimed at screenwriters push you away, authors! Snyder explores some global truths of good storytelling and breaks them down in an easy to digest manner. The most interesting discovery for me? Most of my "romance novels" aren't technically in that genre. According to Snyder's model, they are "rites of passage" stories. That makes so much sense and really explains what I like to write and wh ...more
Maria
Jun 24, 2016 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
loved this book!

it's written the way i like books to be written - very structured. your journey as a screenwriter begins with the idea and then the author takes you thru the whole process, explaining every step and its meaning

i read this book looking for storytelling tips, and i must say - it delivered. it really does teach you how to write a story which is not too long and not too short, which is engaging with twists, with characters to love and rewarding ending. of course, some of the advice i
...more
Stephen M
Essential for scriptwriting, but hard to take seriously when it bashes momento on one page (on the grounds that it made no money in the B.O.) and then praises miss congeniality as a great movie the very next page.

His best advice comes from Campbell, McKee, & Field anyway.
Suzannah
Oct 29, 2016 Suzannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'd been studiously ignoring this book for years, probably precisely because it was that popular, and had become the storytelling bible du jour. Given my skittish attitude, I was pleasantly surprised. With one big caveat, this book is something that I think a lot of young storytellers could read with immense profit. The now-legendary Blake Snyder Beat Sheet would be a really great tool for anyone to apply, and I dearly wish more authors would take to heart his comments on plot structure, buildin ...more
Kolcs
May 05, 2014 Kolcs rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Think of those stereotypical snake-oil salesmen, or the Gordon Gekko wanna-bes, who dress in suits and travel around the country, renting conference rooms or even small diners and trying to convince middle-aged suburbunites to join their programm on how to be succesful.
You know the type: slightly sleazy, fast talking, very friendly but also aggressive, addressing everyone with their first name: "John, you look like a great guy, I like you, but how dare you not be rich? Believe you me buddy, the
...more
Ann
Jan 21, 2010 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fiction writers of any kind
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
I've read about half a dozen books on screenwriting, but most of those books focused on selling the screenplay. For some reason I've always been hesitant to read books that tell you how to write. But, this book got such fantastic reviews that I took a chance.

And boy, am I ever glad I did!! Far from telling you 'how to write' Snyder instead focuses on why screenplays must be structured the way they are, how to pump up your story, how to find problem areas and how to fix them.

Snyder starts at the
...more
Sam Raines
How ironic, for someone to criticize Memento (which is a huge no-no) for not making a lot of money.. Then the director/writer of that movie goes on to direct billion dollar blockbusters such as Inception and the Dark Night franchises (I still think Memento and Following are better). What does Snyder have on him? Nothing. What does this mean? Nothing. The movie world is a crazy and unpredictable world, and this book does an o.k. job at trying to explain it. However, as said by a lot of people bel ...more
K.R. Patterson
Oct 23, 2009 K.R. Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is a review since I have several writer friends hooked up with me here who might want to know (wait no longer Roxy!) Pro: It does give some good ideas for structure, and makes me want to read more about screenwriting. I can see how it can help a person like me who is all over the place set up some firm guidelines and actually, possibly finish a book. In fact, it makes it look kind of easy. Cons: 1)I am not writing a movie. This is very specific to an exact 110 page screenplay. The structure ...more
Peat
Feb 07, 2017 Peat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lets be clear - five stars isn't my rating of all the advice within. Is this the only book a creative writer ever needs, the Holy Bible of storytelling? Heck no.

What this is is a very succinct and clear account of the sort of writing advice every writer should receive at some point, preferably early on, about basic structure, genre and winning over your audience. Given how its targeted at Hollywood blockbusters, not everything in here is going to apply to every writer, but all of it deserves a
...more
Jessica Bell
Nov 20, 2012 Jessica Bell rated it it was amazing
I'm not a screenwriter, I'm a novelist, and I tell you, this book has shed some light on so many things that I was aware of, but most times fobbed off. Everybody has their own process and there is never just one right way to plot a story, but this made me realize how much easier life would be if I followed a few hard plotting rules.

I want a whole wall dedicated to THE BOARD. Don't know what I'm talking about? Then read this book. You'll save yourself a lifetime of unnecessary rewrites.
Jolene Perry
Mar 04, 2012 Jolene Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
EVERYONE who writes anything should read this book.

SO.
FREAKING.
GOOD.

And simple :-D
Michelle
Jun 22, 2017 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Save the Cat? This might save my BOOK! I'm giving it a preemptive five stars because if it does what it promises to do, it may save the life of all the books I've written and all the books that are yet to come. Plot and pacing are my biggest weakness, so when this book was recommended to me, I devoured it in one day. I know I'll be rereading this one over and over for many years to come.
Hannah McKinnon
Apr 20, 2017 Hannah McKinnon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a Christmas gift and wasn't disappointed. I loved how Blake Snyder broke down the art of screenwriting in understandable beats, and gave great illustrations of each. A fun, fast, understandable and easily applicable read. This is a writing method I'll be using for my own work from now on.
Troy Blackford
Feb 04, 2014 Troy Blackford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very enjoyable and informative read.

I've read a few books on screenwriting as part of my reading about writing in general, and the author of this book, the late Blake Snyder, is correct in his early statement that many of those other books, though excellent resources, -do- hold a reverence for film that perhaps obscures and interferes with their ability to tell advice. I'm thinking of Robert McKee's 'Story,' right off the bat. Not a bad thing, and of course you'd want someone to be re
...more
Brian Kelley
Jan 08, 2012 Brian Kelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pawlp-library
After well over two dozen author chats via Skype in my classroom, one book continues to surface on the lips of the authors: Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder.

The first I heard of it, YA author Lizabeth Zindel responded to a question about how a writer can make a character likable. Zindel references this book and explained that a character may be written to "save a cat" or perform an act of kindness, tenderness, selflessness that immediately renders hi
...more
Nick Wisseman
Oct 16, 2016 Nick Wisseman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
It’s tempting to say the best thing about Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! is the title. (And the cover—don’t let go, kitty! HOLD ON!) But there’s some good stuff about the craft of writing inside.

If you haven’t read a book about story structure, Snyder’s prescriptions for writing a screenplay (or novel) could be illuminating. If you have, his breakdown of the standard three-act formula won’t seem terribly new—it’s basically Aristotle’s beginning, middle, and end, plus some tweaks. (Most writing how
...more
Phil
Apr 27, 2011 Phil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Save the Cat! is a great book for understanding the underlying structure that must be built in order to write a good, solid screenplay. Snyder fills this How To book with great information and good examples, and it is easy enough to follow, should one want to try their hand at screenwriting.

Where this book breaks down, though, it its tone and style. Snyder tries too hard to be cool, or hip, or engaging, or something, and the introductions to each chapter are trite, annoying, and a bit like a par
...more
Nick Xylas
I went into this book with some degree of scepticism. I am convinced that the proliferation of fill-in-the-blanks screenwriting books that teach you "the 15 key beats of act 2", or whatever, are responsible for the horrible sense of deja vu that one gets when watching so many Hollywood films. Anyone who's read a couple of these books can pretty much check off the list as they're watching the film ("This must be the bit where the hero enters the special world"). However, a writer friend of mine w ...more
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Goodreads Authors...: Need help plotting your novel? 1 16 May 11, 2015 02:03AM  
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  • Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Great
  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish
  • The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
  • The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script
  • Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
  • The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
  • GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction
  • Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting
  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
  • The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
  • Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot: A Guide for Screenwriters
  • The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life
  • Cinematic Storytelling
  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style (Hollywood Standard: The Complete & Authoritative Guide to)
  • Description & Setting
  • Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach
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In his 20-year career as a screenwriter and producer, Blake Snyder has sold dozens of scripts, including co-writing Blank Check, which became a hit for Disney, and Nuclear Family for Steven Spielberg. His book, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need, was published in May, 2005, and is now in its eleventh printing. It has prompted "standing room only" appearances by Blake in ...more
More about Blake Snyder...

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“To be a screenwriter is to deal with an ongoing tug of war between breathtaking megalomania and insecurity so deep it takes years of therapy just to be able to say “I’m a writer” out loud.” 6 likes
“To know how to avoid the cliche, to know what tradition you are pushing forward, begins with knowing what that tradition is.” 4 likes
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