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Save the Cat


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I've just started reading SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder. I haven't gotten very far, but I did find his "Beat Sheet" on this blog, and plugged in moments from my plot. Definitely finding holes, so that will help with rewrite. Has anyone else read SAVE THE CAT?  Want to post your beat sheet? Here's mine: 

Opening Image – A visual that represents the struggle & tone of the story. A snapshot of the main character’s problem, before the adventure begins.
Alice’s mother awakens Alice in the middle of the night and “shows” her to her father to keep him from leaving and “doing what you said you were going to do.” 
Set-up – Expand on the “before” snapshot. Present the main character’s world as it is, and what is missing in their life.
Alice believes she is responsible for defusing her father’s anger and keeping her mother’s secrets.
Theme Stated (happens during the Set-up) – What your story is about; the message, the truth. Usually, it is spoken to the main character or in their presence, but they don’t understand the truth…not until they have some personal experience and context to support it.
Alice: “Are you afraid they’ll get a divorce?” 
Bo (younger brother): “Maybe that would be a good thing.” (i.e. this is not your responsibility.)

Catalyst – The moment where life as it is changes. It is the telegram, the act of catching your loved-one cheating, allowing a monster onboard the ship, meeting the true love of your life, etc. The “before” world is no more, change is underway.
A mysterious old woman shows up at the museum, encounters Alice, leaves a message for her with Ty, and then dies. 
Debate – But change is scary and for a moment, or a brief number of moments, the main character doubts the journey they must take. Can I face this challenge? Do I have what it takes? Should I go at all? It is the last chance for the hero to chicken out.
MISSING—probably because there is no clear catalyst either.
Break Into Two (Choosing Act Two) – The main character makes a choice and the journey begins. We leave the “Thesis” world and enter the upside-down, opposite world of Act Two.
Probably it is her going into the painting the first time—but that is involuntary. BIG FLAW
B Story – This is when there’s a discussion about the Theme – the nugget of truth. Usually, this discussion is between the main character and the love interest. So, the B Story is usually called the “love story”.
Ty helps Alice leave the museum instead of turning her in when he finds her there after hours. He makes her promise to see a doctor. (To take care of herself?)
The Promise of the Premise – This is when Craig Thompson’s relationship with Raina blooms, when Indiana Jones tries to beat the Nazis to the Lost Ark, when the detective finds the most clues and dodges the most bullets. This is when the main character explores the new world and the audience is entertained by the premise they have been promised.
According to Save the Cat, this should be the period when Alice is frolicking with Ty. Instead, everything just gets worse. 
Midpoint – Dependent upon the story, this moment is when everything is “great” or everything is “awful”. The main character either gets everything they think they want (“great”) or doesn’t get what they think they want at all (“awful”). But not everything we think we want is what we actually need in the end.
Alice “escapes” her situation by walking into the painting.
Bad Guys Close In – Doubt, jealousy, fear, foes both physical and emotional regroup to defeat the main character’s goal, and the main character’s “great”/“awful” situation disintegrates.
Marisol coerces Alice into going back to 1859 to save her brother.
All is Lost – The opposite moment from the Midpoint: “awful”/“great”. The moment that the main character realizes they’ve lost everything they gained, or everything they now have has no meaning. The initial goal now looks even more impossible than before. And here, something or someone dies. It can be physical or emotional, but the death of something old makes way for something new to be born.
Alice fails to save Alexandre
Dark Night of the Soul – The main character hits bottom, and wallows in hopelessness. The Why hast thou forsaken me, Lord? moment. Mourning the loss of what has “died” – the dream, the goal, the mentor character, the love of your life, etc. But, you must fall completely before you can pick yourself back up and try again.
Ty is shot; Alice is trapped in the inbetweenworld, where she can see her father driving his car into the lake, but can’t make herself heard.
Break Into Three (Choosing Act Three) – Thanks to a fresh idea, new inspiration, or last-minute Thematic advice from the B Story (usually the love interest), the main character chooses to try again.
Soleil catches up with Alice and somehow shows her that all her future generations will be lost if she stays there. She makes the decision to break away from the inbetween world. 
Finale – This time around, the main character incorporates the Theme – the nugget of truth that now makes sense to them – into their fight for the goal because they have experience from the A Story and context from the B Story. Act Three is about Synthesis!
Alice emerges to find Ty in her arms and is able to save his life. Her father chooses to escape his car and swim to the surface of the lake.
Final Image – opposite of Opening Image, proving, visually, that a change has occurred within the character.
Old Alice kisses Old Ty and drives away. The reader knows she is going back to deliver the message to her younger self, and that this is the last time they will see each other. 


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I like this. Maybe I will do this while trying not to die of boredom at work tomorrow 😜

I think the biggest thing that stands out to me (other than, yay! look at that full plot arc) is 

59 minutes ago, Katherine said:

Her father chooses to escape his car and swim to the surface of the lake.

feels like a de-escalation from:

59 minutes ago, Katherine said:

Alice fails to save Alexandre

from what I've heard you talk about with the point and philosophical point you're going for, I was surprised that when Alice finally chooses herself and her life (by saving Ty?), things with her dad just happen to work out okay anyway. I'm aware that you've given like, one or two sentences of information here, so I definitely don't your whole thought process around it all. 

Other than that, when you were talking about the "break into two," you said:

1 hour ago, Katherine said:

Probably it is her going into the painting the first time—but that is involuntary. BIG FLAW

But just a little later you mention that she was in the museum after hours. Sneaking in after hours definitely feels like a choice. Is that maybe the moment you're looking for?

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I hear what you're saying about it sounding like de-escalation. What I am going for is that she is unhooked from her belief that she's responsible for her father's life. He decided to save himself without her intervention. If he dies, she'll go on wondering if she should have "saved" him (even though she could not possibly do so.)

It was actually during museum hours when she went to look at the painting. Her time leap ended up losing her eight hours of her present-day life. I need to make sure she is presented with a choice first, and then decide what choice she makes. Things are just a little too mysterious and, hence, ambiguous in the first half of the book. 

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12 hours ago, Katherine said:

He decided to save himself without her intervention. If he dies, she'll go on wondering if she should have "saved" him (even though she could not possibly do so.)

Ahh. I can see that angle. Cause if he dies, there's always going to be the what if in her head and clearly shows her deciding to leave was the right choice.

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