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Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  967 ratings  ·  220 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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4.58  · 
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 ·  967 ratings  ·  220 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
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
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
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
Austine (NovelKnight)
As a writer with publishing aspirations, I'm always seeking out new craft books to learn from and so far I think Save the Cat! Writes a Novel has been my favorite!

In short, this book takes the popular screenwriting methodology from the original Save the Cat! book and breaks it down for authors, using examples of best-selling novels to provide concrete examples of different story genres.

It's rare that I love a craft book as much as I did this one. The writing style of the actual book is very conv
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.
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
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.
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
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.

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).
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
Lauren Faulkenberry
Brilliant. Yes, we know about the 3-act structure, and yes, I'd heard a lot of these ideas before--the best thing about this book is that Brody has taken these ideas and made them super accessible. The beat sheets are a HUGE help for anyone who struggles with learning how to build structure and create a chain reaction of events and consequences in their plotting. I've been recommending this to all of my writing clients who struggle with structure.
Liz Fenwick
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Superb. I read the book and listened to the audio. This works on so many levels and should be in every writer's toolbox...having said that I'm not a planner and working this way from the beginning of the idea to completed first draft wouldn't work for me. However for draft two and beyond it would be an excellent tool and I will have a blank beat sheet beside me as I write the first draft of novel eight...and fill it in as I go along.

Note: Even though I'm a non-plotter it is a wonderful book to
Holly Davis
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
OMG this book is everything. It's the last book I'll ever use to outline my novels. Jessica Brody explains each beat in such a clear and easy way, plus she uses amazing examples from popular books. I also love how she gives us checklists and exercises for us to scrutinize our manuscripts and ensure we hit the important points. Plus she gives some bonus help with loglines, short synopses, and developing arcs across trilogies and series. I can't sing this book's praises enough! If you haven't read ...more
Lauren Dilbo
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be such a helpful and encouraging book which really addressed the problems that I have been coming across as I’ve been working on the first draft of my novel. It has really helped me consider the flow and plotting of my piece in a way that I hadn’t previously thought of and I feel like I now have a story that has the right foundations and will ultimately say what I intend it to. I would highly recommend any writers struggling to see their ideas through to a satisfying end to pick ...more
Laurence MacNaughton
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Way back when I worked for a book distributor, Michael Wiese Productions sent me a sample copy of the original Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. I devoured that book, and it helped launch my career as a novelist.

The original Save the Cat! book series was aimed at screenwriters. This brand-new version by Jessica Brody seamlessly adapts Blake Snyder’s methods for novelists. It’s one of the best “how to write a novel” books of the decade.

Get it. Read it. Follow it. You'll be glad you did.
Mikayla (MikaylaReading)
I always feel like I'm at a loss when it comes to how to craft a novel. I had the basic idea down, but knew I needed more structure and direction. I just didn't know where to find it.
Thank GOD I decided to pick up this book. It provided so much knowledge and a great foundation for me to work from. I don't feel as lost in the process now, and I foresee me reading this book again and again in the future.
Angel Leya
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
Okay, so I've read a lot of plotting books, but the Save the Cat Writes a Novel breakdown of "genres" is by far the most helpful thing I've come across to date. This is not to negate the impact of the others (in which, Nail Your Story: Add Tension, Build Emotion, and Keep Your Readers Addicted (Growth Hacking For Storytellers), 5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out, and How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method are my favorites). Besides reinforcing the usual p ...more
Charly Troff (ReaderTurnedWriter)
This is the most useful thing I've ever read on writing novels. My husband and I are both currently writing novels and we bought a second copy so that we can both have one for referencing.

I love the format of the beats, we can't watch or read anything without finding them now. It's so useful in writing your novel (I'm on my second draft, my husband is just beginning his outline, and it's useful for both phases). It helps you to brainstorm, keeps you on track while you're working, and helps you
Jenny Bunting
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a good overview of plotting and how to hit popular beats and story arcs in a story. I did read it all the way through instead of using it as a reference. I think it is more a reference book as the story arcs for each genre get tedious reading back to back. Still, I'm excited to start plotting prior to starting my first draft. Definitely wished I had this book when I was in my early 20s.
Laura Rueckert
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Save The Cat! Writes a Novel is an excellent resource with several examples of beat sheets so you can see how the beats play out in real examples, and also information on how to write a compelling character. One caveat: if you've already done a lot of research on plotting and story engineering, much of this might be a review of things you already know.
Hunter Lambright
Fascinating all the way through. This was a book for three nights in a row that I put other things off for, which is saying something considering I'm not normally a non-fiction reader. Definitely worth the read for anyone who has a lot of seed ideas but has always struggled seeing the beats that finish out the story.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, audiobook
I am not an outliner, a die-hard pantser, but this book has me changing my mind just a bit. Brody makes this planning work seem like so much fun I had to dive right in! So many practical tips and she breaks them down step by step with a very helpful chapter at the end to answer FAQs. Love, love, loved it and I can’t wait to apply it to my writing!
Chancellor Fangirl
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's some really fantastic advice in here, and some of it is immediately going to become part of my process. There are also some underwhelming examples, however, that keep me from giving the fifth star. Still and all, I like it and absolutely recommend it to other writers.
Brandon Carper
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wanted a book about applying Save the Cat to novels and I got it, although occasionally there was a Joseph Campbell Hero's Journey vibe where every story fits the pattern including the ones that don't.
Caroline Deacon
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is brilliant. I’m wary of prescriptive ‘how to write’ books and at first glance this might seem to be that, but in fact I think it’s a helpful way to interrogate your writing and make it stronger. Whether you are a plotter or a pantser, this book will work for you.
Myk Pilgrim
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Whilst there have been many wonderful moments/insights in this "Save the cat" I've found it to be a much less engaging read than the other cat books I've read.
When it's good, it's very very good, when it's not, it's eeehhhhh.
Either way I've learnt a lot and when is that not a good thing?
Elizabeth Perez
So this book is basically a blue print on how to format and organize your novel. I enjoyed this book because art is so subjective and I always wondered if there could be some kind of formula or 'must have' plot points. I also liked how the author broke down multiple books from different genres.

The author warns about spoiling some books but I feel like she only really spoils the ones she breaks down and the books are so popular that chances are if you were even a little bit interested you have al
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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
“That’s why I like to call Act 2 fixing things the wrong way.” 0 likes
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