Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One of my all time favorite book on writing is Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder. Save the Cat is a book on screenwriting, but works for novelist as well.  Save the Cat was the first book that ordered the murky world of story structure into fifteen easy steps, known as the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet. (You can download the beat sheet, along with several other writing tools, for free, from his website.) The steps are simple and range from the (1) Opening Image, to (8) Fun and Games, ending with (15) Final Image. 


Today, my thoughts are focused on step eleven: All is Lost. In this step Mr. Blake shares how every good story has  what he calls the whiff of death. A place where a death occurs, plant, mentor, goldfish, etc., symbolizing the old world passing away, freeing the main character to change and successfully begin a new life, where he/she can overcome the trials of his life thus far. My question today is do you have an All is Lost moment in your story? Do you feel it's necessary? Do you notice the these moments in other stories?

Having read so many books on writing and screenwriting, I find myself watching movies with a much more critical eye. Looking for the beats and turns. Is this happening to you as well? If so, how do you apply these new critical skills to your own writing?

Today, I seemed to be filled with questions on writing. I hope someone out there has some answers that can push me in the write direction.


14 comments:

Lauren said...

Yes, I watch for the beats and the turns and the Chekov's guns of the story.

I think All is Lost moments are good in the story; after all, the farther a hero falls the higher he or she can climb. I think it can be a little overdone though, so I like them to be subtler, or at least to make total sense in the story. But I think it's so true that we can only become better after we have gone through the ultimate pain, so I think in a story where it fits that is a necessary part.

I haven't read Save the Cat, although almost everyone I know has recommended it to me! I must get my hands on it sometime.

Joy said...

It seems we go through this in life as well...at least I do/am. Hope you find the answers you're looking for!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

@ Lauren, I like that comparison, the farther they fall, the higher they climb. Thanks for sharing. Yes, do get your hands on a copy of Save the Cat; it has changed my writing life.

@ Joy, I agree, writing is like life, I'm sure the answers will come... one day.

Christine Rains said...

I definitely have an All is Lost moment in most my stories. It's a great moment for change and action. I also look at stories with a more critical eye these days. I try to read as a reader rather than a writer, but sometimes it's difficult!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

@ Christine, I too find reading as a reader, instead of writer, hard. It doesn't happen often, but I love it when a book is so good, my critic shuts up and just lets me read.

Tonja said...

I do have those moments - hopefully that means I'm doing something right.

What I notice most when I watch movies is when they go for the easy and expected plot turn. I prefer to be surprised.

Robyn Campbell said...

I have got to get this book! It sounds like I need it. EVERYONE but moi has read it, I think. (Well, moi and Lauren above.) Ha. I ALWAYS have questions on writing. *sigh* Maybe one day we'll know EVERYTHING there is to know about it. But I kinda doubt it. :-)

Merry Christmas.

David P. King said...

Such an awesome book. Can't say enough good things about it.

There's still time to post for the Build Me a Blog Hop if you're planning on it today. :)

Elise Fallson said...

I need to read this book, I've heard so many good things about it.

Cherie Reich said...

I'm hoping to read this book next year. I hear it is helpful. And I do try to have the All is Lost moment in the story. They are almost my favorite parts of writing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is my favorite book on writing! The beats are awesome. I have the third book but haven't read it yet.

Lynda R Young said...

I haven't read this one yet but I keep hearing so much about it. It's on my Must Read list.

Morgan said...

Save the Cat is GREAT. I swear all a writer needs is chapter 4 out of that book and they're set. Definitely a winner!

Sherry Ellis said...

I have never heard of this book. It sounds like one I should check out!

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