Saving Cats

Save a cat or dog

So I have this hobby. It’s called, “Learn to plot a book.” Yeah, I know. I’ve had three books published, the third of which is about to come out. (No pub date yet, boys and girls. Sorry.)

So for the last month, I haven’t been writing. (Gasp!) Instead, I’ve spent my limited writing time working on the above mentioned hobby by making my way through a book called, “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder.

I had to check the book cover and make sure I had that right. Usually I call it Hang the Cat. (Don’t ask. I’m weird.)

This is a great (GREAT!) book. (I know, every other writer under the sun read it eight years ago. What can I say? I’m a slow learner.) It’s so good, I’m giving back the book I borrowed and buying my own.

BTW: I don’t write screen plays.

But screen plays are pretty darn close to being books, and he has a great plotting system, suggestions and how-tos. The only problem I see is if a writer tries to use math to translate what he’s saying to use for a book.

What works on the screen won’t work math-wise in a book.

Here’s what I mean: If he says you must have the Jabberwobby happen on page 10 of the screen play and your book is 5 times longer than the screen play, you can’t put the Jabberwobby on page 50 and expect it to work. (10 x 5 = 50.)

Why? Because, reading something in print and seeing it on the big screen is two different things. In a good book, when we’re in a person’s POV, we get to crawl inside a their skin, learn what scares them, what makes them happy, what cheers them and so on. We hear their thoughts, understand their reasoning, even if it’s bad reasoning.

In a movie, we don’t get all that. You have to understand the characters through seeing what they do and hearing what they say. So naturally, the timing is going to be different.

But even though it doesn’t translate exactly page number wise, everything Mr. Blake has to say about writing/plotting/selling is excellent. I might not take everything he suggests in his book as my exact style, but it has certainly mapped out a path for me to take.

I might just have to find a new hobby. 😛


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