What you can learn about screenwriting from ‘Save the Cat!’ by Blake Snyder

The full title of “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder is: “Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need,” but he also wrote: “Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told,” and “Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into… and Out of.” All three are comprehensive screenwriting books revealing organized and detailed steps in writing a script that sells.

Save the Cat, Image credit: Blake Snyder

The books were entitled “Save the Cat” because Snyder believes that “you can sell your script, if the hero in the script can save the cat.” In simple terms, the hero must be able to do something that the reader would admire and like.

Blake Snyder is an American screenwriter who died on Aug. 4, 2009, but whose books continue to sell because of the interesting content that has helped screenwriters all around the globe. A computer and cell phone software were even created for budding and professional screenwriters based on his ideas in the books.

In “Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need,” published in 2005, Snyder expounds on the importance of beats to present more details about the story. He also emphasized the significance of a logline that a screenwriter or novelist can present to a producer during a short ride in an elevator.

The logline should include the description of the hero, the villain, and the goal of the hero. A “Beat Sheet” is also provided to help screenwriters write their stories. The guide is presented in a conversational and easy to understand language that even tyros could comprehend.

Blake Snyder’s second book, “Save the Cat: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told,” published in 2007, expounds more on the content of the first book by providing readers the “key breakdown of the 50 most instructional movies.” In this book, Snyder disclosed how the screenwriters developed their stories in the Hollywood movies, minute by minute, and how they tackled the challenges handed out to them.

The third book, “Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into… and Out of,” was published in 2009. It is composed of answers to questions that the audience had asked Snyder during his lectures and workshops, and in his blog. By then, his first two books were selling and workshops were conducted all over the world.

In this book, Snyder deals more with the proper and positive behavior that a scriptwriter/screenwriter should observe during pitfalls, such as rejection or editing. The book is about how screenwriters could “strike back” positively to make the best out of a troubled situation.

All of the three “Save the Cat!” books are excellent books that every screenwriter should own, whether they are amateurs or professionals. The books have earned four to five rating stars from readers for their rich content and proven reliability in successful screenwriting ventures.

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