I’ve spent more hours than I will every add up researching writing resources. Partly for professional reasons as a book editor and author coach but also as an author-in-progress myself.
Knowing what works and what’s effective and most importantly, which ones are a waste of our precious time is key. Because the fact is, writing time is finite. We have so much going on in our lives. While many will no doubt have dreamt of being allowed to stay home from work with free time to write, it’s not the dream scenario. But us authors need to take what we can get when it comes to time to write. Recently, I was fortunate to be given access to the Save The Cat! software to explore and trial it all.
Whether you get up at
“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
–Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades
Nowadays, we have access to so many writing resources and author tools at our fingertips. However, that can actually make it pretty overwhelming. In fact, one of the things I regularly say to clients is, ‘I know how exciting but also overwhelming it is for you because I write too!’
So, what is Save The Cat? (and why the odd name?!)
After a little research, I’ve discovered the title was inspired by the screenwriting idea that an essential part of the hero’s journey in a story is to make readers/viewers root for him. Picture, the firefighter rescuing a cat from a burning building – the ‘save the cat’ moment!
Save the Cat! is designed to provide you with the resources to develop your novel and/or screenplays. It grew from the original series of best-selling books, primarily written by Blake Snyder.
Most of us have heard the idea that there are only ten genres and no new ideas, right? I’ve had several aspiring authors get very upset, even crying on a Skype call or on my shoulder even when they’ve discovered a book in a bookshop or online where the plot is very similar to their own manuscript.
It’s understandable to think your idea has been done before. Just today, I heard about
I’ll let you in on a little (probably well-known) secret, great writing is in the little details. But holding on to a massive amount of detail in your head can be confusing, frustrating, and distracting. Writers’ block is often just losing track because you can’t recall a significant detail and then struggling to get back into it.
“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.” – Save The Cat!
But, can’t I just remember my book details and use Word?
Before using Save the Cat!, I had a whole bunch of excel spreadsheets saved in a Google Drive folder which I’d have to remember which one had what in each. It was actually a pretty rudimentary version of what Save The Cat! is, so I’ve loved checking this out – albeit wishing I’d had it years ago.
I’m fairly set in my ways and not really keen on change so once I start using something, I’m always pretty reluctant to try something different – especially if it eats into my writing time! And so, it takes a bit convincing for me to use a new tool or resource.
Initially, it reminded me of something like Trello with the drag and drop and notes and I loved that the screen can be
The key part of the
One thing I really liked as it’s something I already did with my basic spreadsheets is it gives you the ability to track your story arcs and any settings. One of my stories is a
Even if you’re a little (or a lot) tech-shy, there are a lot of help videos that show you how to use the software.
I’m still exploring some sections so I may update this post in time if I come across anything that doesn’t work for me. Personally, I don’t like to get too tied into relying on tools so I tend to take what I need and keep the rest pretty simple which works for me. But that’s what is super important and please remember this – there is no right way to write. Figure out what works (and doesn’t work) for you and stick to it. Or adapt down the line if you change your mind.
And one final thing that is always a signifier for me if I’ll continue using something is customer service. I’ve not personally had to contact the team but from those I’ve spoken to or read about, they seem to be pretty good at responding to cries for help from struggling authors. Goodness knows, we’ve got enough to deal with without bad service so whatever limits there are to this software at least they will take the time to help.
Find out more about Save the Cat! by visiting their webpage at www.savethecat.com.
Check out the full blog tour in the image below with 30 brilliant blog posts written by a range of
Also, check out this interview by Nicole Pyles with Jason Kolinsky, Save the Cat’s Chief Marketing Officer here.
You can purchase a subscription to the Save the Cat! Structure Software on the Save the Cat’s website.
If you have any questions about this blog post or how I help authors one-to-one, I’d love to here from you.