Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Saving Cats

Over the holidays I read Blake Snyder's, Saving the Cat. It was a bit of an eye opener as far as how to plot out a story. The part I liked the best was his use of the index cards. He breaks it down between three acts and each card indicates a scene. Within each scene there has to be a conflict and an emotional arc. Then the index cards get put up on a bulletin board. Ten cards for Act I; ten cards for part one of Act II which takes you to the midpoint; ten more for the second part of Act II; and then of course the final ten cards for Act III - 40 scenes in total. Granted, he is referring to screenplays in his book, but the method translates into any form of storytelling and has really helped me look at things differently.

Not only has it made me look at things differently, it also got the creative juices flowing again and the idea I originally toyed with of taking a leisurely year to just 'hone my craft' was tossed out the window and the need to really use this method and put a push on to revise previous manuscripts and write new ones quickly replaced it.

Right now I am back to revising the NaNoWriMo first draft of my young adult novel. I'm seeing holes already using this method. Not surprising given that it was a first draft and a NaNo book - which meant lots of writing through, around or over the holes.

My goals for 2010 are pretty ambitious. Revise three manuscripts, write the first draft of two more, agent hunt and get a publishing contract. I threw the last one in there as I was writing my goals realizing I had never actually put that one down before. Maybe having it there in writing will make a difference this year. Guess we'll find out.

Let the games begin.


Bonnie Ferguson said...

Those are great goals! :)

Melissa Marsh said...

Never heard of that book before. May have to check it out.

I've always had trouble with plotting that includes index cards. That is just too much detail for me. But if it works for you, I say go for it!

Julia Smith said...

My mom found Save the Cat for me just as NaNo was starting. I didn't have time to look at it until over the Christmas holidays.

I LOVE it.

Very, very glad to hear it's helping with your NaNo revisions.

Anne MacFarlane said...

If anyone can accomplish all that in a year, it's you. Best of luck pursuing that publishing contract.

Cat Schield said...

I'm a huge fan of Blake Snyder and Save The Cat. I have all three of his books. Since I love all things movies, I found how he breaks down into beats extremely helpful. As a matter of fact, that's how I got through NaNo. I knew exactly what needed to happen at each day's word count.

Good luck with this year's goals. And with your YA. Sounds like you're going to have a great year!

KJ McLean said...

This book sounds great and might be just the thing I need to get my own focus back!

Write on!

Tess said...

Cool sounding book and method! I'll have to get it through ILL.

Good luck with your writing goals, I've no doubt you'll succeed :)