Save the cat– or my novel

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After reading Catherine Caffeinated’s endorsement a few weeks back, I decided to check out SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder. I’m SO glad I did. It’s a screenwriting guide, but it might just be the book that saves my novel.

Following the six month program in Is Life Like This? has been helpful in a lot of ways, and I am grateful for John Dufresne. But as I alluded to in my Week 8 recap on The Hero’s Journey, I think I’m an outline girl. (Uncle John is not.)
Following characters around to see what they’ll do has led me down so many paths, and honestly I don’t see any of them panning out because none of them are turning into a well-formed linear story. They’re all over the place— episodes. Vignettes.
Not a novel.
When I write, I envision the story as if it’s a movie. The scenes play out in my head, and they follow a very definite path. I see how the events fall into three acts. There’s an inciting incident, a reversal, a climax and all the rest. So while I am following Dufresne’s plan to finish the first draft by June, I’m going to resist chasing any more of his wild geese.
I’m going to save a cat.

Oh, right. Weekly recap. Week 11: 4th week of plot work. I wrote some scenes, but only for 4 days. Week 12 is a much needed vacation from writing— to read!— and I couldn’t wait to get started. Read a favorite novel/author, take notes, figure out why it works. Heaven! Thanks for the break, Uncle John. I owe you 3 days.

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