Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Save the Cat! Part 2

Welcome back!
Welcome to Save the Cat! blog post #2.

So did you all come up with a killer title for your ms? *crowd yells yes with enthusiasm* Good, that's what I like to hear.

If you've already read the book then you know that it includes eight chapters of non-stop answers to successful story building. If you haven't read it yet, here are some fun things you'll learn

• Save the Cat

• The Pope in the Pool

• Laying Pipe

 They mean nothing to you now but once you read it you'll understand how clever you can become when creating your next storyline.

Let's talk about building the perfect beast as Blake likes to put it. "The Board" is one of the most important tools for a screenwriter. Corkboards, chalkboards, if you see one in a writers' home you'll now understand why it's there. It's becoming more and more popular for novelists as well.

Let's face it writers are writers whether it be a novelist or screenwriter. We all strive for one thing: to tell a compelling story.

* I would like to note that even if you decide you don't want to use a corkboard as Blake suggests, you'll still benefit from reading the book, but if you are as serious as I am on learning Blake's technique I would recommend the following:

• A big corkboard

• Index cards

• Box of push pins

These tools will allow you to break down your story step by step. It's really very helpful. Here is a picture of my very first corkboard I put together last year. As you can see there was plenty room toward the ending.

Young Adult Author Elana Johnson shares hers here along with some more talk about STC.

Don't let the beast frighten you. Play with it and see how structure can help you plan a story. Like I said I am a SOTP (Seat of the Pants) writer and I found it to be very helpful. All you have to do is start out with four columns: Act One-- 2 columns of Act Two--Act Three.

Once you get the book, you'll understand how easy it is to set this up. And like I said before if you decide not to structure your story, he provides invaluable information.

Still a little unsure about Blake's beat sheet and how to use it? I find examples come in handy. 

Here is one on a student of his blogging about how he used Nora Robert's Born in Fire to illustrate his 15 Beats of story structure. You can find the post here: Story Structure from Blake Snyder

If that isn't enough, NY bestselling author Jessica Brody breaks down her book The Karma Club HERE

 Seekerville  also wrote up a tribute to Blake along with a great example of his 15 beats broken down.

But if you're like me and would like to hear it straight from the source, here is a great article where Blake talks about his 15 Point Beat Sheet.

Hope this is helpful to some of you. I have the next two books in the series ordered and am anxious to read them! In Blake's twenty year career as a screenwriter and producer, he has sold dozens of scripts, including co-writing Blank Check, which became a hit for Disney, and Nuclear Family for Steven Spielberg — both million-dollar sales. That's gotta say something!

How about you? Have you read the whole series? Do you have a corkboard up? Have you applied Blake's techniques?
Thank you so much for stopping by! Appreciate it.
If you missed Part 1 to this series you can find it HERE
In Loving Memory


Brenda said...

Thank you soooo much Mart. I am such a huge fan of STC now. With what I'm learning I'm sure the writing of my second novel should be easier than the first--I hoping.
I've also been working on my log line. Question. Is it okay if the log line is two sentences?

Martha Ramirez said...

So glad to hear, Brenda! According to Blake he says to come up with one sentence. One line. In Hollywood it's call a logline. But I've also read in my notes he says a one to two sentence logline.
However when someone asks you what ur book is about, you are more likely to snap out a compelling one sentence. Just like a short blurb of a book could be a one sentence description.
I say if you have two don't worry about it cuz it could come in handy later but I would strive for a one-sentence log line.
Hope thsi helps!

Brenda said...

This helps me tons!! And thanks for taking the time to help!!!! I'll keep my logline to one sentence!!

Lisa Kumar said...

I'm a pantstser, too, and am looking for structure that will help guide me during my next novel, hopefully allowing me to cut down on revisions. Otherwise, I'll be eighty when I finish my next story!

Martha Ramirez said...

Brenda, Yay:)
Lisa, ur right. that is what they say if you're a pantster and don't have much structure you will be revising much more. And I totally see the difference this time around!

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, if I can build a board, anyone can. Great post! Thanks for linking to me.

Martha Ramirez said...

Ditto that, Elana. My pleasure to link you:)

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Yes, he will be missed. A wonderfully talented man. No writer should be without his books.