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Save the Cat! Writes a Novel
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Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  5,335 ratings  ·  952 reviews
SAVE THE CAT!® by Blake Snyder is a popular screenwriting book series and storytelling methodology used by screenwriters, directors, and studio execs across Hollywood. Now, for the first time ever, bestselling author and writing teacher, Jessica Brody, takes the beloved Save the Cat! plotting principals and applies them to the craft of novel writing in this exciting new “w ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published 2018 by Ten Speed Press
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Average rating 4.53  · 
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 ·  5,335 ratings  ·  952 reviews

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Sebastien Castell
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
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
Theresa Alan
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Julie Zantopoulos
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
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
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
Thomas Edmund
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
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
Michelle Stimpson
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
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 ...more
Ana Guerra
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing

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.

A. S.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sci-Fi & Scary
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that I highly recommend. Made things makes sense to me that I'd seen before but didn't quite comprehend. ...more
R.K. Gold
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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. ...more
Michael Perkins
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Audrey Dagenais
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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!
Gabe Novoa
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
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
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Intisar Khanani
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Jessica C Writes
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
this is my favorite book on writing to exist & i am never writing a book again without it.
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
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 ...more
Lady H
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
This offers some pretty helpful guiding principles for drafting a novel, and I'm always on the lookout for different methods of drafting, since I'm a dedicated outliner (for the most part). Sometimes the method came across as a bit prescriptive, but of course you are always free to leave or take any part of it. This is definitely a book that I'll be referring to when drafting! ...more
William Aicher
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
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.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star
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.
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sarah Crow
Review to come!
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Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples, and electrical tape.

After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager

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