BWW Book Reviews: SAVE THE CAT! By Blake Snyder
SAVE THE CAT! The Last Book On Screenwriting That You'll Ever Need, by Blake Snyder.
I intend to review several mini-genres of theater books in this column, anecdotal, critical, nostalgic, historical- but all share The Common thread of risk, social relevance and of great storytelling structure.
I remember when I was in college, (proudly at Western Michigan University), I was taken aback by the sheer amount of heavy books I had to purchase for my classes. I’m proud to say 90% of them reside in beautiful oaken bookshelves in my home office. These books represent the nutrients that exist beyond the classroom. I will attest that learning the craft and beautiful art of live theatre require a hands-on environment. However, ruminating on the musings and instructions of your predecessors (who are probably smarter than most of us) whilst sitting with your required reading is ESSENTIAL.
I want to begin this column journey with a book my writing partner mailed to me (via Amazon!). “Save The Cat”. The concept is simple and concise. This is a book about how to turn an idea into a great, sellable story. What separates it from the other shelves of writing books is that it addresses the need to make positive choices in your writing style. Meaning- it’s better to save the cat, than to kill the cat when you are constructing a narrative. Snyder makes a case that a positive choice aligns the viewer with the protagonist (a device that seems to be lacking in many modern properties). Of course this is a broad metaphor, but if you open up your creative iris, you start to drift towards its central theme. How many movies or plays end without redemption? (Self-nerd exception “The Empire Strikes Back”).