Writing Book Spotlight: Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder

Sunday 16 November 2014 by

Save the Cat!, Blake Snyder, Book, Writing, Screenplay

It may profess to be ‘the last book on screenwriting that you’ll ever need’, but there are plenty of things that any writer of fiction could learn from this pithy and humorous book.

Save the Cat! is a comprehensive look into what it takes to make – and most importantly sell – a screenplay. From the pitch to the script, Snyder outlines clear steps to make a success of each of the stages, plumbing his own back catalogue and popular films to illustrate his points. He talks about how he got stuff wrong, and how he learned to put it right, and in that experience is plenty of superb advice to help take your craft or your salesmanship to the next level.

Starting with the perfect premise (and how to boil it down to a single logline – if you can do that, a query letter is going to be much easier to face!) and taking you all the way through to editing, there are exercises every step of the way to help you deepen your knowledge, as well as the straight talking advice that Snyder does so well.

The big selling point of the book is the breakdown of the structure of almost every film ever – which Snyder turns into a beat sheet for producing a fast paced, gripping story. I can almost hear you riling against the thought of storytelling being so formulaic (and indeed, Snyder can hear you too) but the fact is that there are certain expectations of how stories go, and just because the skeleton is the same, doesn’t mean the stuff you flesh it out with has to be the same.

Snyder doesn’t pull punches – he’ll have you cringing in embarrassment at some of the more pretentious things you’ve thought/said – treating the craft of writing like a business. If you want to have your feelings handled gently and continue to write things that no one else will ever read, don’t bother with this book. If you have aspirations to be published, it’s definitely a worthwhile read.

Save the Cat!

Blake Snyder

RRP £11.99

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