Thursday, July 24, 2008

Must-have Book: Blake Snyder's Save the Cat!

Kudos to Blake Snyder who has written the definitive work on storytelling of this decade. Don't get me wrong, you still have to own Joseph Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces, and you should still have a dog-eared copy of Christopher Volger's The Writer's Journey. But Blake Snyder is where it's at today. And ignore the secondary title on his book that says, "The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need," because this is a book for anyone who wants to tell a story. Period.

Instead of rushing out to see The Dark Knight like everyone else, I spent the weekend at PNWA. On Sunday, Blake Snyder spoke -- and, frankly, he rocked my world. My first novel flipped open, pages fluttering, all there in my mind's eye. Parts I didn't even know I had floated together, spinning mid-air like some mystical puzzle piece. The scenes I didn't even know were missing snapped into place, perfect fits. I came home to buy the book. (I think every book store was sold out of his books in all of Seattle. I got the last copy available in Lewiston yesterday, and it looks like I'll have to buy Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies on-line.) Ceilyn's Calling will be a tighter, more solid first book because of this experience. And even though I have that exciting agent lure of "Send me the first three chapters and the synopsis" beckoning, I'm taking time out to make sure I've followed all fifteen beats of Blake Snyder's beat sheet. Becoming a master-beater takes time, don't you know.