Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Writing Craft

Posted by: Eleri Stone

I recently finished reading Black Snyder’s Save the Cat! It’s a craft book written for screenwriters that gets recommended all the time, but as it seemed focused on a pretty strict plotting formula I avoided it until now. 

I’ve become more of a plotter as time goes on. Not a super tight plotter, but I find that when I’m working from at least a loose outline the first draft is much cleaner and goes a lot faster. 

Save the Cat! did have a lot of solid plotting advice. It convinced me to try using a storyboard for my next project. I’m pretty excited to get started on that.

What I really loved about the book is the idea of seeing your story as a complete package from the get go. My usual process is to write what I want and then figure out how to market the thing after the fact. Save the Cat! flips that and recommends that you start with the end in sight. What exactly is this story about? Who’s your audience? What’s the logline?

And then only once you have a story idea that will sell, do you start plotting. I’m not convinced that the beats will work as well for romance as action/adventure, but there are definitely some good points about story structure.

Anyway, I liked it a lot and highly recommend it even if you’re more of a pantser than a plotter. 


Do you have a favorite book on writing craft? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

3 comments:

  1. I collect writing books. Some of my favourites:
    How to Write Best Selling Fiction by Dean Koontz
    Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Alberta Zuckerman (the agent of Ken Follett)
    Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (and the workbook, which goes into more detail)
    Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
    The Black Dagger Brotherhood: an Insider's Guide by J.R. Ward (while not strictly a writing book it has a lot of good advice)

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  2. Oh, and I've recently become of fan of the podcast Writing Excuses (Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells)

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    1. Thanks Nicole. I have some settlement money from B&N I planned to use on craft books and the podcast sounds great:)

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