This is the second edition of M. L. Swift's Progressive Book Club. (For more information, click here. For the linked list of participating blogs, click here.) This month's book is Save The Cat by the late Blake Snyder.
Here's what the website says about the book:
The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need
Here’s what started the phenomenon: the best seller that’s in its twelfth printing! Blake Snyder tells all in this fast, funny and candid look inside the movie business. “Save the Cat” is just one of many ironclad rules for making your ideas more marketable and your script more satisfying, including:
- The four elements of every winning logline
- The seven immutable laws of screenplay physics
- The 10 genres that every movie ever made can be categorized by — and why they’re important to your script
- Why your Hero must serve your Idea
- Mastering the 15 Beats
- Creating the “Perfect Beast” by using The Board to map 40 scenes with conflict and emotional change
How to get back on track with proven rules for script repair This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a showbiz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat.
I'm going to take a shortcut this month. I wrote about Save The Cat for an Insecure Writers Support Group post a few months ago, so I'm going to link that here. If you haven't already seen it, I encourage you to click over and skim it, even if only to see the picture of my pretty plot cards.
The short version is: I loved the book and, even though it's geared for screen writers—meaning not everything applies to novels—it's worth the time and effort to read for the plot insights and beat sheet alone. It gets really good at about the 40% mark. ;)
P.S. This comment is for those who visited my blog last month and read my non-review review.
The library copy of Bird By Bird came in the same day of the PBC bloghop. I did read it and, for the most part, enjoyed it. But that didn't sway my opinion much.
I still would not pay $10+ for this book. There are tidbits of wisdom here and there, but not enough to justify the price, IMHO. After writing three novels, reading nuts-and-bolts craft books, and immersing myself in the writing community for over two years, I'd either heard or figured much of this out for myself.
Bird By Bird is probably best suited to writers who are just starting out—those who have unrealistic, romantic notions about writing as a career. In fact, if it saves you from wasting time and money investing in the business only to abandon the venture later when you realize your first attempt at fiction isn't going to be the next NYT bestseller, then it's worth the cover price.
If you do decide to read it, consider borrowing a copy first before buying one for your shelf at home. And prepare yourself for some language and tongue-in-cheek humor. Don't take everything the author says seriously.
Kelley Lynn’s debut novel, Fraction of Stone, releases tomorrow
(Congratulations, Kelley!), and Carrie Butler, author of Strength,
will be visiting my blog Friday with something special to cap off her book tour.
Trust me. You don’t want to miss it. ;)