Audible Book Review of Jessica Brody’s “Save The Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need” — Derek Barton – 2020

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Save The Cat!

by Jessica Brody — a Writer’s Resource & Reference Guide

Released on October 9, 2018 — 311 pages

Narrated by Jessica Brody

So, one of my bi-monthly goals in June (as per the post, Looking Back & Looking Forward – Bi-Monthly Goals) was to read a writing craft reference book. This awesome book,Save The Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need is it. A fantastic guide on how to evolve your stories organically, captivate the reader with the pacing and structure, and how to win lifetime readers over with incredible themes and character arcs.

Originally Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need  written by Blake Snyder was developed as a way to help screenwriters. He found an almost universal pattern in every award-winning film. In his book, he shares his discovery and shows you the master template he crafted based on his findings.

Side note: The title Save the Cat! is a phrase pinpointing a decisive moment when the protagonist demonstrates that they are worth rooting for. Especially needed in cases of an anti-hero like Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones or Frank Castle of the Marvel Series, The Punisher. “It’s the scene where we [first] meet the hero”, in order to gain audience favor and support for the main character right from the start.

The Synopsis:

The first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, which reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.

Novelist Jessica Brody presents a comprehensive story-structure guide for novelists that applies the famed Save the Cat! screenwriting methodology to the world of novel writing.

Revealing the 15 “beats” (plot points) that comprise a successful story–from the opening image to the finale–this book lays out the Ten Story Genres (Monster in the House; Whydunit; Dude with a Problem) alongside quirky, original insights (Save the Cat; Shard of Glass) to help novelists craft a plot that will captivate–and a novel that will sell.

The Review:

I found this book very well planned out and down-to-earth. She lays out this master template for you in simple and defined terms, but also how you can still follow the template without “the dreaded F word”… that F word being Formulaic!

Not only does she give multiple examples taken from great novels like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle to modern classics like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Misery by Stephen King, and The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, she provides in depth analysis to show where theme and story are laced together seamlessly.

There are ten complete novel templates broken down defining each of the original Ten Story Genres (including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill)

Brody takes you through the Opening Image, making it hook your reader and keep them on the edge of their seats, to incorporating meaningful themes, then shaking things up with Debate and Catalyst moments in your stories.

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The Narration:

Jessica Brody narrates her novel and brings a ton of energy and excitement, she WANTS you to hit the ground running!

Jessica Brody is the author of more than 20 books for teens, tweens, and adults including Sky Without Stars, Between Burning Worlds, The Chaos of Standing Still, Better You Than Me, A Week of Mondays, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and the Unremembered trilogy.

She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants.

Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and several have been optioned for film and television.

The Rating:

In summary, I took a lot from this audio book even though I had heard some similar story structure techniques before. This book was different and impacting in an all new way — it showed how theme can be woven in and character growth is essential to the outline.

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to any author, rookie or veteran! The master story template has been there right before our eyes all this time, but now it has been brought out in a clear and organized manner for all of us to craft our own unique worlds!

 

By DEREK BARTON — Author of the ELUDE series (Parts I, II & III — a Horror/crime thriller), IN FOUR DAYS, EVADE series (Parts I & II).  Also Grim Fantasy novel series CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS and THE BLEEDING CROWN (both available on Audible.com!).

New Avenues to Me — Derek Barton 2020

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I have been working hard on strengthening and fleshing out my two resources Pinterest and Patreon for you. These sites should give you even more access to me, my work and new materials I am developing.

For those who may not fully understand what Pinterest is, Pinterest is unique search engine for materials, reference resources and finding key elements that fit into your customized categories. In other words, I have currently fourteen “boards” (categories) where I can “pin” material that I feel fall into those categories. For example I have a board called Storyboard: Horror-Suspense & Crime Inspiration.

 

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When I find an image that intrigues me, I can pin it and keep in that folder. I also have a board for my Fantasy images. This gives me a handy place to get writing ideas as well as show you the readers where I get some ideas. In my board From My Writer’s Blog I have  six subsections with material showing my self-publishing tactics, some biography blogs, my writing prompt stories, etc.

Writing Snip 1

Some of the other boards are: From My Writer’s Blog, My Horror-Suspense & Grim Fantasy Collection, My Newsletters, Book Reviews, Book Cover Artwork, Landscapes, Batman & Other Comics, My Audiobooks, and My Favorite TV Series.

I can also do my own “pins” like these:

Pin Snip 1

Also on Pinterest I can place reviews on my books, details about my book & audio book giveaways, or I can share pins from other collaborators and authors I find on Pinterest.  If you want to see my work or other things on my site, you can click here and “follow” me so you can see my contributions and additions to the site.

Patreon Snip 1

Patreon I have previously talked about here. I want to this year do even better at maintaining and providing exclusive access to my work. I have decided that I will be writing a fantasy novella based on this:

Writing Prompt 3

The novella will be seen in chapter installments only on Patreon and sold only in paperback format once completed with signature and customized metal bookmarker to my patrons initially.  The other benefits for becoming patrons will still be there — now I just want to make it even better!!

Please see these two sites and let me know what you think of them and if you have suggestions, comments or ideas to provide even more value to you!!

 

 

2020 Bio Blog — Derek Barton

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So it has been since 2018 that I’ve done a bio blog about myself. I tried to really find some interesting questions. If there are any questions you might have, feel free to send me any email or leave a comment. I am very open to answering.

 

Base information you may not know:  My real name is Derek Barton (no middle name and not a pen name). I have a half-brother Alec who lives in Florida near my father and my mother lives in our home state of Indiana. I live in Phoenix (since 1996), married to my wife Erika, and have three children (Johnathan 19, Jenna 18, and Jessiena 4). I’m a full-time supervisor of an insurance marketing company. I was born in 1970 and grew up in the 80s (hair bands still rule!)

What shows are you into?  Like my book genres, I tend to like both horror and fantasy shows. So Game of Thrones (except the last season) is my all-time favorite show with Dexter (except for the last season!! C’mon can’t you guys get it together in the end?!)

How often do you play sports? Rarely any more. Would like to get back into racquetball again once we are out of the quarantine.

What skill would you like to master? I would like to also get back into weightlifting again – not only for health reasons, but I found it did help with stress as well.

What do you wish you knew more about? The other skill would be making better book covers designs. I really need to get into a  Photoshop course!

What mystery do you wish you knew the answer to? What are ghosts? Are they really former people and if so, why did they choose to be in this form or choose to stay behind?

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie? Again I like the two genres of horror and fantasy, but this time I would have to say horror more than fantasy. Check out my prior blog on my top favorite horror films! 

What fictional place would you most like to go? If I had the chance, I would find a way to see the future like in Minority Report or some other sci-fi flick like The Fifth Element. I love fantasy but future technology would be awesome to see.

What game or movie universe would you most like to live in? As I stated above, the future would be an amazing time to live in, but if not that then the epic fantasy world of Skyrim would be also a great experience. I’m into the whole magic thing — maybe not out facing dragons by myself like the game, but you get me!

What was the best book or series that you’ve ever read? Stephen King’s The Green Mile Series (they were first published as five small novellas — hmmm does that sound familiar?) would be my first thought. Then of course the whole Game of Thrones Fire & Ice Series. Many others could come up on this list — like R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’urden Book Series which is absolutely phenomenal and filled with characters I could only hope to achieve!

What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years? Writing more and more books and getting better with each one. I don’t  have any reason to stop — my expensive hobby completes a part of me and if there are fans of it too then that is also incredible! The other aspect that I’m looking forward to is seeing my baby girl grow up! Jessiena is such a wonder and fascinates me — I really had no idea what being a parent could be and now I can’t imagine life without her around.

Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to? I love heavy metal and dubstep (heavy metal techno), but when I need to write I put on classical or epic music. Bands like Godsmack, Audioslave, Stone Sour, Linkin Park, or Deftones would be my answer.

What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years? Did I get a new body or still stuck with my starter one?!

What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with, but you just don’t get the point of? The Kardashians come first to mind, then I’d say most reality shows especially cooking. If I can’t eat it, I am not spending an hour watching you make it! Don’t taunt the fat guy, he’ll bite!

What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you could experience it for the first time again?  The Lord of the Rings movies would be great to relive.

What do you have doubts about? I doubt a lot of personal things but my writing of course is always important to me so I want to make it the very best I can. I often wonder what have I missed or how can I make it better.

What would be the scariest monster you could imagine? If you notice and some of you have pointed it out, I have a lot of spiders in my stories. Yeah, tarantulas are definite nightmare material to me. The worst I created so far would be the massive Gray Mother in the story, The Bleeding Crown. 

What challenging thing are you working through these days? I’m working on Evade, my new horror suspense series and trying to tie that all up, but the one that makes me gulp anxiously is the last of the Wyvernshield Series. It has some really big things coming up and even though I think up these things, it’s another to write it down coherently and also make it entertaining. I am excited to get started on the last book yet I dread it! hahaha  Coming in 2021 hopefully!!

When was the last time you changed your opinion/belief about something major? My ideas of politics in general have changed within the last three years. I’m not going to get into it as that is a very volatile subject with people, but I’ll say that I never realized how big an impact politics and government really  do have in your normal day to day life. The decisions other people in charge make can literally mean your life or death indirectly or not. It won’t always work to ignore it and keep your head in the sand.

What’s your best “my coworkers are crazy” story? Once during a company “secret santa gift exchange”, a coworker overhead another lady ask for anything cow-related. She had a collection she wanted to add to. My coworker friend who was friends with her took it upon himself to give her a gift even though she wasn’t in his team exchange. He bought her a real frozen cow tongue! Funny as hell (the look of disgust and shock on her face as she unwrapped it) but sick at the same time!

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions that you did while growing up?  Halloween is a big one of course. Dad always made a big effort to put me in costume and it was a special time for the both of us. The other would be of all things, Easter. I couldn’t wait to find those damn eggs! It was my scavenger hunt (which I seem to really secretly enjoy). Jessiena seems to share my same thoughts on holidays (although “pwesents” from Christmas is starting to edge out all others!)

What’s the weirdest way you have met someone? Well…my wife and I met at a “Lock and Key Event”. A singles thing where men were given keys and women given locks on necklaces. Gee, no symbolism there!  Anyway, we didn’t “click” with our key and lock, but when Erika approached me and chastised me with “You paid $20 just to sit here and not talk to anyone?”, the event didn’t matter anymore… And thus the beatings, I mean, the love began!

If you had to choose one cause to dedicate your life to, what would that cause be?  Fighting for animal rights or protection. I don’t do enough of that — no one can — but it is important to me. Some of the stories of abuse you hear make you wonder how I’m a human and that same person is a human? How can they do such a utterly horrid thing and still be related to me?

Which fictional villain is your favorite? Agent Smith of The Matrix movies was incredibly portrayed by Hugo Weaving. Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies. Then there’s the villains Loki and Thanos of the Marvel movies… so there are a lot out there to choose from. That’s too broad of a category for me to answer.

 

Alright well, I hope that wasn’t too boring and it gives you a little insight to my mind and my life.

Hope everyone is being safe and remaining healthy in this trying time!  Thank you again for all your support!!

New YouTube Page! — Derek Barton 2020

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In case you weren’t aware, I now have a YouTube Channel with several book trailers.

Elude Vid

Crime/Horror-Suspense Series

CWC Vid

Epic Fantasy Series

Hidden Vid

Classic Horror Story

These are great reading during your WFH downtime or… Go to Audible.com and immerse you in these narrated novels!

 

 

 

Stay safe – stay healthy!!  Thanks for all your interest and support!

 

March Sale! — Derek Barton 2020

 

From March 1st through the 7th, you can get these two online ebooks for just $1…!!!!!

That’s right — Two great series openers for just a dollar each during this limited time.

 

Also both are available on Audible for your listening pleasure.

 

 

The Chase is Still ON — Elude Part Two Audiobook ON Sale Now!!

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S. W. Salzman brings my epic grim detective story to life!

ELUDE –

Stepping blindly into a horrific murder scene, a young ex-con, Vicente Vargas, must flee from the police while eluding the real killer who continues to pin more bodies on him in this intricate cat-and-mouse game. Cut off from all friends and family, tried and convicted by the press, Vic must survive on his wits and cunning on the gritty streets of Phoenix, Arizona long enough to clear his name.

ONLY $4.86 NOW on Audible.com 

Don’t miss out…Click here for details.  

 

The Witcher — Review of Eps 1# through 3# — Derek Barton – 2019

Witcher

The new sword & sorcery fantasy series called The Witcher has come out on Netflix this week.  Originally the main character, The Witcher was introduced in a book by Andrzej Sapkowski called The Last Wish. It grew even more attention when it was adapted for a video game series under the same name in 2007.

The Netflix series follows the main character Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher, played by Henry Cavill as well as a young princess called Ciri (actress Freya Allan).

In a dramatic opening, The Witcher bursts out of the water entwined with a massive, mythic spider-like creature called the Kikimora. Thus, you see the heart of the show.  Geralt is a hated and yet sought after warrior who hunts and destroys monsters for coin. His “kind” is said to be mutated humans, but the show has not elaborated as of yet what’s truly different.  He does use elixirs and other sources of magic to boost his natural abilities. I found the first episode a bit heavy-handed with exposition, but you definitely see a good story brewing. A young princess has been tasked to find Geralt and “her destiny” in order to save the world.

Then the second episode, titled Four Marks, came on and brought a much better and intriguing storytelling element. The episode introduces a new character, Yennefer, a hunchback girl (played by Anya Chaolotra) who accidentally discovers she has untapped magical abilities. Her father is so disgusted by her, he actually sells her into servitude for four marks (coins) during the same trade exchange he sells a pig for ten marks. Her plight and struggle pull you in immediately.

The third episode of the show is centered around a creature, a Striga (an unborn fetus cursed to become a monster inside the womb which later tears itself free) who has been hunting and slaughtering residents from a small town and its workforce of miners. By the way, I will say not only has the story improved and its character development, but the show’s special effects are pretty spot on.

I cannot give you my opinion if it follows the story canon from the books and/or the video games, but I will say it is worthy of a viewing if you like either Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. It is in its infancy as a show so it does wobble now and then, but Game of Thrones had eight seasons to really define itself and make noteworthy characters so watch with a little patience.

The first season of the show has been completely released on the streaming service. I am already hoping for a second season!

 

By Derek Barton — Author of the Dark Fantasy novels: Consequences Within Chaos and The Bleeding Crown.  Also the author of In Four Days: a Horror-Suspense Novella, the series Elude: Part One, Part Two & Part Three (horror/crime thrillers) and The Hidden (Classic Horror)!!

2020 Superhero Saturday Book Signing — Derek Barton

Superhero 2019

 

GREAT NEWS!  I found a replacement for the postponed Bookmans Exchange Book Signing.

 

Please visit me in January at:Superhero Saturday 2019

At the event, there will be Cosplay, Classic Cars, VIP Community Heroes, Merchants/Vendors, and Recognized Police and Firefighters First Responders.

For more information and details: https://www.superherosaturday.org/

This promises to be a great family fun day as it was last year!!

Parts 3, 4 & 5 of Interview — Derek Barton – 2019

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For those of you who caught Parts 1 & 2 of the interview I had with Voice Actress Laura Richcreek, here are the last three sections.

PART THREE =  https://laurasvoice.com/weve-got-a-plotter/

PART FOUR =  https://laurasvoice.com/wouldnt-have-it-any-other-way/

PART FIVE =  https://laurasvoice.com/flexibility-and-gratitude/

 

Thank you again, Laura!  That was a blast and as always it is a great pleasure working with you on my projects.

Please enjoy these excerpts and have a GREAT HALLOWEEN this year!!

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The Fall Author Fair @ Phoenix Bookmans — Derek Barton – 2019

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COME SEE ME AND GET A BOOK SIGNED!!!

The book fair will have at least 7 other Arizona local authors there for you to meet and greet.

I will also be giving away a set of all my audiobooks (Consequences Within Chaos, The Bleeding Crown, In Four Days and Elude Part One) to one winner who attends.

This should be a great time — DON’T MISS OUT!!

 

Bookmans Exchange 

11 AM to 4:00 PM

NOVEMBER 16TH, 2019

8034 N. 19th Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85021

Phone: (602) 433-0255

https://bookmans.com