One of the best books I’ve read on writing recently has been Save The Cat by Blake Snyder. Snyder is a screenwriter who has has his share of both failures and successes and he shares what he has learned about the way to construct the perfect script. The intriguing title of the book comes from Snyder’s suggestion that writers have to make audiences like the hero by having the hero do something nice, such as saving a cat.
By the time I’d read the intro, I was hooked and raced through the rest of the book. It covered creating and improving your logline; testing your pitch; deciding on genre; working with your hero; the beats of a movie; framing your screenplay; writing techniques; checking and marketing your work. I have never written a screenplay, but by the end of the book, I felt I could.
What’s more interesting is that since reading the book, I’ve noticed how the structural elements that Snyder identifies appear in movies and TV shows. For example, the Pope in the Pool is a technique where writers create a diversion to distract audiences from the weight of some of the necessary information they get.
This book is easy to read and very memorable. One possible criticism is that Snyder does not use the same genre names as other screenwriters so you may find it difficult to compare his advice with that given by other screenwriting gurus. However, I believe that Snyder has a lot to offer and if you’re stuck with a script, this could provide the kickstart you need to begin writing again.