Save the Cat Writes a Novel Book review

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The book is written by Jessica Brody. And I was given the book to review for the blog tour. I have the ebook and audiobook of it, and I was given the software as well. So first is the book and it is one of the best books about novel writing out there. It gives an outline with 15 beats. And it also talks about the 3 Act story, and has sections for each. Also, it goes over what is supposed to be where in the story, and even the percentage it is supposed to be in with examples from books. It even shows how the 15 beats are explained with ten worksheets breaking down the parts of the novel. It is easy to understand and makes me think of my own novels. It even tells you step by step of the 15 beats and where it all goes in the book. It also goes over the A story and B story which is something I have never thought of before. A story is external and B is internal, and each story changes the hero in some ways. It talks about themes in the beginning since every story teaches a lesson. That is why I write. It made me think about how I structure my story, and how to make it better. It makes you understand how to structure a story. It even goes through the various elements that make a story good. This is for a writer of any type. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned one this book is something you definitely need to make your novels better.
These 15 beats will make the story believable, and each section talks about what percentage of the story it is supposed to be. I love how in depth it goes and I plan on using Marina as an example while I write it. It helps you outline your novel. There is also novel writing software and it breaks it down into 15 beats to help you outline as well. It goes into depth about it, and I love using the software since it was everything a writer needs. It is very helpful to have an outline like this, and to finally have a good formula for crafting a story.
Every story has a character that has a want, need and problem. Even before writing it you may want to think about who will change the most to make the story based on their personal growth. A Story is the external world. And the B story is what it is really about. The internal story also is based off the ten universal lessons.
They are:
Forgiveness
Love
Acceptance
Faith
Fear
Trust
Survival
Selflessness
Responsibility
Redemption
Every story has one of these.
And now we get to the beat sheet! This is how the outline is broken down and some details about how to use it and a description of it.

ACT 1(Thesis or statue quo world!)

1. OPENING IMAGE (0 TO 1%): A “before” snapshot of your hero and their world. First scene in the book. This would be where we see Marina in my book starting out talking about her world. It is an image and supposed to be visual showing her world. It shows us where the hero begins.

2. THEME STATED (5%): A statement made by a character (typically not the hero) that hints at what the hero’s arc will be (that is, what the hero must learn/discover before the end of the book). Marina is a powerful witch and she is supposed to step up to the plate when she becomes coven leader. Also promised to someone not out of love but out of necessity. She wanted a place to belong instead she doesn’t have one, and she is a rare witch that not only is half-angel and half-witch but she has the power to call dragons.
3. SETUP (1% TO 10%): An exploration of the hero’s status quo life and all its flaws, where we learn what the hero’s life looks like before its epic transformation. After going through all that Angeline contacts her to talk since she was the last AngelWitch to complete the circle. This is also where you meet A story characters. It is also the place where we find out what needs fixing. Also in the beat it is called the stasis=death since it means things need to change.

4. CATALYST (10%): An inciting incident (or life-changing event) that happens to the hero, which will catapult them into a new world or new way of thinking. Things are about to change especially for Marina since she can’t go home after someone tried to attack the coven looking for her and it is where she finds her mate. He is actually half vampire and half dragon.

5. DEBATE (10% TO 20%): A reaction sequence in which the hero debates what they will do next. It’s usually presented in the form of a question (such as “Should I go?”). Marina will have no choice but to go with them and hide and they can even turn to the mate for protection.

ACT 2 (The antithesis which is when Act 1 is turned upside down.) You can also call it fixing things the wrong way! Since everything is wrong before it is right!
6. BREAK INTO 2 (20%): The moment the hero decides to accept the call to action, leave their comfort zone, try something new, or venture into a new world or new way of thinking.
7. B STORY (22%): The introduction of a new character or characters who will ultimately serve to help the hero learn the theme. New characters are introduced, and this is where the vampires and dragons come in.
8. FUN AND GAMES (20% TO 50%): This is where we see the hero in their new world. (Promise of the Premise) Also is where the hero is up and down and it is where the hero gets to shine or flounder in the world.

9. MIDPOINT (50%): Literally the middle of the novel, where the Fun and Games culminates in either a false victory (the hero has thus far been succeeding) or a false defeat (the hero has thus far been floundering). It is also the messy middle and it is awesome to reach that point. Also where a false victory or defeat happens. Both A and B intersect. Stakes are raised in it.

10. BAD GUYS CLOSE IN (50% TO 75%): If the Midpoint was a false victory, this section will be a downward path where things get progressively worse for the hero. A lot of bad things happen, and in one of my novels everything got worse instead of better. The flaws of the hero come out.

11. ALL IS LOST (75%): The lowest point of the novel. Whiff of death also goes here since it is where everything seems hopeless.
12. DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL (75% TO 80%): A reaction beat where the hero takes time to process everything that’s happened thus far. This is where the magic happens at this point. Dark night epiphany and everything falls into place. Return to the familiar since it will be the point Marina gets to see everyone once time is passed.
ACT 3 (Synthesis)
13. BREAK INTO 3 (80%): The “aha!” moment. This is where you fix things the right way.
14. FINALE (80% TO 99%): The hero proves they have truly learned the theme and enacts the plan they came up with in the Break Into 3. This can also be broken up into 5 points and the longest part of the story.
1. Gathering the team which in my case gathering everyone since at some point Marina will be a fierce AngelWitch with her dragon powers. I will at some point show her at the place, and maybe she can even pick up a dragon friend.
2.Executing the plan where she actually gets to put her plan into place. I still haven’t figured out where to go with this yet.
3. The High Tower Surprise which is the twist I am still planning.
4. Dig Deep Down where to go from there. The theme of the story and looking at where she changed. The stuff she is now a part of, and there is no turning back. This is also the Touched by the divine part in the story too.
5. The Execution of the new plan which is the final sub-beat. The new plan that finally works.

15. FINAL IMAGE (99% TO 100%): A mirror to the Opening Image, this is the “after” snapshot of who the hero is after going through this epic and satisfying transformation. This is what happens after the events in the story.

Brody, Jessica. Save the Cat! Writes a Novel (p. 26). Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale. Kindle Edition.

I love how after it explains the outline it goes point by point with examples from other books to explain the breakdown. I have never wanted to take notes from a writing book as much as I want this one. It is easy to put it on a separate sheet to write the outline of the beats for the story. It even has the word counts for genres in it which is helpful going forward. This beat sheet is probably one of the best I have read since it has a thorough outline. And it helped me figure out where to go in the story, and what to do in the novel. In the next chapter they talk about genres and they go more in depth into them. There are only ten genres out there to study in the Save the Cat book.
Whydunit.
Rites of passage.
Institutionalized.
Superhero. (Marina!)
Dude with a problem.
Fool Triumphant.
Buddy Love.
Out of the bottle.
Golden Fleece.
Monster in the House.
It goes in depth about each and how your story has to be different from all the rest. I suggest you pick up this book. It will change how you see a story, and make you wonder why you didn’t pick it up in the first place. I love how the book breaks down all ten of them and even uses the beat sheets as an example. You will finally start to realize how invaluable this book is. It will help you build a better novel and make your story good from start to end! It takes a lot of the successful novels and breaks them down using these 15 beats and each of them fits into these ten different genres some of them will overlap! The Superhero section is what drew me in since I know Marina falls into that, and I will definitely keep that in mind while I write it. I will use this book as a guide to write my story, and if you write books pick this one up and use it too. You will find it is very helpful to use in creating the story you want to show readers, and you might even surprise yourself as you write it and study in the genre by reading the books you want to write. I love how it uses examples of bestsellers and breaks it down into the beat sheets by going into depth it makes me realize why the bestselling book is a best seller. By using this formula you will create a story worth telling. I hope you have enjoyed the review and I even made a video on the software which you can use with the book!
See the software below!
(Insert software video)

WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR

OF

Save the Cat! Structure Software
&

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

Tour Begins April 27th

About Save the Cat!®
Save the Cat! provides writers the resources they need to develop their screenplays and novels based on a series of best-selling books, primarily written by Blake Snyder (1957- 2009). Blake’s method is based on 10 distinctive genres and his 15 story beats (the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet). Our books, workshops, story structure software, apps, and story coaching teach you everything you need to unlock the fundamentals and mechanics of plot and character transformation.
Find out more about Save the Cat! by visiting their webpage at http://www.savethecat.com.
About the Save the Cat Structure Software

Save the Cat! Story Structure Software is adapted from the Save the Cat! methodology to help screenwriters and novelists unlock the fundamentals of plot and character transformation. The Story Structure Software is a virtual writer board with digital index cards to help map out your story against the 15 beats or plot points to your story. The software enables writers to track emotional shifts of characters from scene to scene, develop profiles and edit and version your story with ease.

You can purchase a subscription to the Save the Cat! Structure Software at Save the Cat’s website.

About Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

An Amazon #1 best seller with over 500 reviews, it’s the first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.

In this revolutionary novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! series, novelist Jessica Brody demystifies each beat, making it simple to learn the complexities of storytelling. The best-seller also reveals the ten universal story genres to help you drill down into what makes your type of story work. Featuring sample “beat sheets” for hits from the likes of J. K. Rowling, Khaled Hosseini, and Stephen King, this practical guide also includes real-world advice on pitching your novel, plus the quirky, original insights (like the eponymous tip to “Save the Cat”) that make this series unique. By the end of this book, your own imaginative beats will combine to create a story that thrills readers from start to finish.

Print Length: 320 Pages
Genre: Writing References
Publisher: Ten Speed Press/Random House Publishing LLC
ASIN: B078VWDNKT
ISBN-10: 0399579745
ISBN-13:978-0399579745

Save the Cat! Writes the Novel is available as a print and e-book at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

*I received a free copy of the book and software in exchange for my honest opinion!

How to Procrastinate instead of writing a novel!

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Novel writing is not easy by any means, and with self-publishing just about anyone can become a writer. Works can be published without any effort which isn’t good for people who actually can write a novel. It’s hard to write since it mainly requires butt to chair action, and sometimes more brain power then you have the energy for especially if you go to school, or work a day job. Good work takes time and even other people to look over it. That is another story though, and I will write a post about the entire process and how I write them. In the meantime here is how not to write a novel. Or maybe it should read doing everything but writing a novel!

  • Check email: You never know if a very important email from an editor or beta reader has come in. Just check every 5 seconds and keep hitting the refresh key constantly.
  • Check Twitter and updates status to: Writing a novel but in the mean time researching shirtless models for the next cover.
  • Eat after all you’re brain cannot work without something powering it.
  • Yell at your smartphone since a wrong number has called for the 1,000 time for someone who has a claim on them. It’s a recording too bad they cannot hear you…
  • Watch time tick by every minute while you’re waiting for calls from family or friends.
  • Check blogs after all how the hell do other writers write novels when you can’t even sit for an hour….
  • Get another cup of coffee, wine, whisky, liquor, vodka, or energy drink to get the blood flowing or to relax you need it after trying to focus on a sentence for an hour.
  • Hit head against the wall to loosen the ideas from your brain.
  • Shower maybe it will help you figure out this next sentence…
  • Check Facebook yet again to see what fun things your friends are up to, and things to use in stories…
  • Stare at the computer screen until inspiration strikes…
  • Smoke a cigarette if you do as a way of taking a break.
  • Walk the dog maybe the neighborhood can give you more ideas…
  • While walking the dog you spot a house, and spend the rest of the time wondering if they keep bodies in the basement.
  • Get one of the emails you’ve been waiting for and dance around when it says not bad just needs work. Yay! You’re not a failure.
  • Delete old files off your phone, PC, and tablet since it is a new semester and year after all.
  • Watch Youtube lets plays because video games are awesome, and who knows another story idea might pop up at any minute…

Okay, there are a lot of ways to procrastinate and not work on writing your novel. In the end the writers who stop procrastinating, and are determined to finish the novel of their dreams will learn how rewarding it is to finish something despite all the distractions stopping them.

Until next time,

Wolfdreamer25

Good News!

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Besides the retail novella I am rewriting The Killer Contract Agency short, and it will show a side to them before they hunted supernatural creature’s gone rogue. The bullies are not human instead they are creatures called Malians, and they are a species from another planet that picks on weak humans to make them kill themselves before they become successful adults. The main character is Salina Sinclaire, and she is picked on to the point where she almost dies. Then she joins The Agency, and the rest is history. I looked over the old version, and decided to modify it completely, and not only will it have less human bullies it will be from Salina’s point of view.

I played with it last night when it was in third person, and I got stuck…I turned it to first, and BAM! The story came alive with Salina’s voice, and it was easier too. I also have some fun cut scenes to show you. Part of the editing process involves cutting scenes that slow the story down. And when I changed it from third to first sentences and even paragraphs had to be deleted like this, and this is the scene where her mom is talking to the principal. I had to delete the principal’s part since Salina is eavesdropping after she is covered in tar by the resident bully:

“Hi, my name is Rose Sinclair. Salina’s daughter, and there is a girl named Laurice Pasty. She is picking on my daughter so much I have her crying after school everyday. There will be something done about it right?” She says trying to control her temper.

“Hmm…Yes, I seem to recall having the two of them duke it out, and since Laurice is not a human we are not equipped to get in the middle of this feud. We have to let this run its course, and if it gets too out of hand I do know someone who can get rid of this girl if she does not keep the peace.” He replies with reassurance.

“Why would you allow them in the first place?” She asked why he would be stupid enough to allow a dangerous alien to mingle with humans.

“They had a truce with us, and until a person commits suicide because of them then it will be over. Or they try to kill her, and it means that The Killer Contract Agency will step in, and take care of the threat at that point. Your daughter could be a Hunter if that Laurice girl was trying to hurt her that bad. If the Laurice tries to kill Salina a mentor will step in before that happens. You have my word since they are supposed to be peaceful, and if they are not then the Agency will step in and terminate the threat.” He told her.

“Okay, and then the truce will be over, and the Agency will get rid of them by using my daughter great. Thanks, that is all I need to know.” Her voice drips with sarcasm since she is not too happy about them using her daughter like that.

Yes, it was a fun scene to write. Salina can only know so much from eavesdropping though. I hope to be done with it by early June to give it to the beta. Apply the notes, and then go through it again before giving it to the editor. Still going to publish the retail story, and the proofreader is still working on it. I have the same person for the covers, and the same themes will be used in the story.
That is it for updates…

Until next time,

Wolfdreamer25

Writing a Novel:

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A friend asked me this if I have finished a novel, and how is the experience? The question will be better answered in a blog post then in a Facebook one. The answer is yes I have not only finished a novel, but I have also finished a novella, poetry, and more short stories then I can count. Writing is a part of my life, and I already have 5 projects in the works. Writing a novel can be easy at times, and downright frustrating. Rough drafts and rewriting is the difficult part since you have to face the blank page, and the rewriting can be hard to since you have to make sure the sentences make sense. It is hard to write a novel from start to finish, and at one point I wrote without an outline. It kept getting difficult since I was writing myself into a corner, and I had to finally write an outline to know where I was going. It is worth it in the end to have the ability to create worlds out of thin air. It does get easier with an outline, but it is hard to go from point A to B. Finding the time is an important part of the novel writing process since it takes time to produce a novel. Sometimes the words will come, and sometimes it is like pulling teeth. The characters tell their story, and you write it down. It can be learned with enough practice, and it is worth it since it allows you to have a voice in the world. It allows you to teach lessons about life through fiction. If you’re a writer you know it since usually there is something urging you to write. Writers have to write since that is what they do. They have something to say and stories to tell. They have a destiny to entertain people, and they are put on this earth for a reason. Writing a novel involves creating characters that will stay with people for a long time to come. It involves putting in enough man hours to finish a project to the end. My first novel will be in print one day since I am making it the fourth book in the Luxor series it will be in two points of view Scarlet and Serena Saban. I have already finished it, and I need to write in Scarlet’s point of view. Of course, I also need to write the first three novels, and I am 8 chapters into the second and 4 chapters into the first. This is a hard series to write since I have to remember details from the previous books to keep in mind while writing. Novel writing involves creating your own world, or changing the world we live in now. It is worth it in the end though. I love the novel writing process since creating novels is something I love doing. It helps me get over my past issues, and it gets rid of my anger. It makes me create real characters going through real struggles, and it is better than therapy. Whenever you’re writing a novel outline first, but don’t be surprised if it changes. Keep going and don’t stop. If you’re stuck free write or do writing exercises then keep going even if it sucks at first since there is always room to improve.

Until next time,

Wolfdreamer25

National Novel Writing Month:

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This November I plan on participating in National Novel Writing Month. It is a challenge to see if I can write a rough draft of 50,000 words by the end of the month. I will have more time to write on holidays, and Mondays with one test at the beginning, and most of them are in December after November 7th. I will use a schedule to keep track of the words, and outline beforehand to know where I will be going. It is time for me to finish the novel Retribution is mine, and since I am rewriting the first 8 chapters I will have to start over again. I had 8 chapters finished, but with this new twist I want to rewrite it all from scratch keeping the outline, and changing it. I am not going to have two different points of view, and I might just put it on my blog for free. It would be better to go with just Scarlet’s point of view because I don’t have a clue on how to balance both. It will be in first person, and there will be a few twists thrown in, and it will be hard since this hits closer to home then I want.

I hope I can help people who have been burned by first loves, and show them that through the pain of losing their first love they will find someone cuter, more compatible, and in my case someone who will treat them good. It will touch on the subject of breaking away from an abusive relationship, and even show bad guys always get what is coming to them. It will show what real love is versus the love we experience when we are younger. I had no idea what true love was like until I met my fiancée. It was better than I imagined, and I know this guy will stay with me no matter what, and he won’t give up on me when times are tough which is what I am going to show in the novel. I have procrastinated long enough, and now it is time to finish it once and for all. Plus, writing is my therapy, and if I don’t write this out I will never be able to get over it.

I will be keeping track of my progress, and blogging more frequently to show people how it is going, and for people to check in too.

Anyone doing National Novel Writing month too? Have you started an outline yet? Know what you are going to work on?

Until next time,

Wolfdreamer25