Save the Cat!

Dear Liza,

After enjoying Cousin Jasper’s school show at Abernethy School, Auntie Bridgett and I walked down to Powell’s on Hawthorne to hear Jessica Brody talk about her new book, “Save the Cat” Writes a Novel.”

Jessica is a very successful author of children’s and young adult novels and this new book is a How To guide to her method of developing plots and characters. I figured that I was ready to get some help with my story…it is good, but needs help here and there to be GOOD ENOUGH. Because after all the research and mapping I have done, if the story doesn’t have a character people care about, no one will read it!

“Save the Cat!” was originally a guide to screenwriting by Blake Snyder. It talks about “beats”, or plot points, that stories need to be satisfying to read and successful in the marketplace.

Some of these include a flawed hero (someone with problems who we follow and learn to care about), stating a theme (which we will see play out in the story) and a catalyst, (which forces the hero to actions that lead to their growth and redemption.)

Also in the book are analysis of other books, like Pride and Prejudice or The Kite Runner, pointing out the “beats” and how they apply to every genre. This will be helpful in my fictionalized history of Portland, I am sure.

Jessica spoke to a crowd of about 60 people at Powell’s, most of us writers or wannabes, looking for guidance. We were all happy with her clear, approachable advice and most of us bought her book. If I am typical, there will be 60 people in Portland today, flipping through “Save the Cat” and their own stories, figuring out what is wrong and how to fix it.

Wish us all luck!


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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