My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The tone and humor might be a little dated, even insensitive and problematic at points, but there’s no question that Save the Cat by Blake Snyder is a book packed with useful, easily digestible, but comprehensive information. Ostensibly written for screenwriters, I think novelists and short stories writers will find this book equally as beneficial. It might even have a thing or two to teach poets.
“The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet” in chapter 4 damn near brought me to tears in how efficiently and starkly it lays out the beats of a good story. After I read the chapter, I created a beat sheet for my own novel-in-progress, and later the same day, I integrated it with my outline. The story I’m trying to tell is immediately more vivid, visual, and vibrant, and it’s filling with incident, emotion, twists and turns. I now see the path forward through some 90,000 words, and with my new logline, beat sheet, outline, and, soon, my own Board (chapter 5 is also tear-inducing), I know I’ll be able to keep the momentum going until I reach the end of my novel.
And when I’m ready to revise, there are also fantastic chapters on how to go back to recognize and fix common problems.
A little rough around the edges in terms of tone, Save the Cat is a powerful reference manual to come back to again and again.