Save the Cat! is a guidebook for movie scriptwriters, but it includes a lot of important lessons about storytelling and plot construction that are helpful for novelists too. Snyder champions the use of tools such as beat sheets and index card storyboards to work out plot problems. When I first started writing I would have scoffed at going to such efforts to plan my stories, but now I’ve come to see the value of working from a plan.
I’d seen the concept of story “beats” referenced frequently in writing blogs, etc. but wasn’t completely clear on what they actually were and how they worked. This book explained them from square one. Snyder does a great job presenting his concepts using examples from hit movies to make them easily understood.
I’m going through the book a second time so I can take notes of the techniques I plan to implement in my own work. I realize writing a novel is quite different than writing a screenplay, but underneath it all, storytelling is still storytelling after all. Save the Cat! holds lessons for story tellers of all stripes.