Writer’s Favorite Things (Pt Two #17 to 31) — Derek Barton – 2020

  • 17. Notebook: I am very much into the digital age so I don’t use notebooks, journals or anything that I have to handwrite. I used to have a much better penmenship but these days, it is clear I’ve not used a pen often. I probably couldn’t write cursive to save my life!
  • 18. Favorite Work In Progress: Every WIP is your favorite at the time! You pour your blood, sweat and tears into the work. Of course, you want the writing to be the best every time. It doesn’t always turn out that way and you will find yourself wanting often to go back and rewrite passages or chapters in your books, but like children, sometimes you have to let them go, cherish them as a whole including flaws.
  • 19. Writing Group/Buddy: I don’t belong to any writing group currently. That’s something to think about though. I do have a small circle of people who read the work and critique it for me on occassion but I don’t have anything formal.
  • 20. Writing Spot: No “spot”. I have more of a “get it down and done” philosophy than a Zen Garden spot for writing. I have bought a new writing desk which I am absolutely in love with but it’s not a necessity for me to write.
  • 21. Writing Snack: My key ingredient to a lengthy writing session is caffeine so I tend to mainly drink instead of snack. I do have plenty of favorite snacks but I hold off of those while writing.
  • 22. Ways to Prewrite: I am a big proponent for backstory and character depth. If you can visualize or get into the heart of the character before the story writing takes place, you’ll have a better understanding of that character’s POV and how they would realistically react. One of the infernal sins of any writer is to have unrealistic or unlikely character actions. If the action slaps the reader in the face then they are thinking it over in their mind versus being in your story. You lose credibility and story immersion in one fell swoop!
  • 23. POV to Write In: That’s easy. 3rd person. I have some 1st Person but it definitely is a challenge for me.
  • 24. Pantser or Plotter: I have covered my eccentric, obsessive need for outlining so there’s no way I could even pretend to be a writer that flies by the seat of his pants. I have at the very least a simple “beats outline” to write by and keep me on track.
  • 25. Favorite Villain: Far as movie villains — the usual list of suspects being The Joker, Pinhead, Pennywise the Clown, Jack Torrence. My own written villain would have to be Auste, the Pale Chaos Mage, from Consequences Within Chaos. He had cause to want vengeance but the means that he took made him so hateful. It was that core of pure evil in him that turned another character, LLasher, from the evil path to the repentent hero.
  • 26. Favorite Bookcover: I wish I could say it was one of the ones I have done for my books, but to be completely honest, my favorite is The Bleeding Crown’s book cover done by artist Joy Landa. It truly brought to life that character. One look at the cover and it just pulls you in!
  • 27. Favorite Heroine: Signorney Weaver’s portrayal of Ripley in the Alien franchise was always a fantastic inspiration on how to write a female character. Strong and independent one moment, sensitive and compassionate the next. I think that many women have the mix of the two and many men portray only one side. My favorite heroine that I wrote would be hands-down, Princess Letandra. I am really chomping at the bit to write the third installment of The Wyvernshield series and give you all a glimpse into the hell she’s been put in and what she must do to save Wyvernshield.
  • 28. Writing Cup: Nope. Don’t have one. I think it’s because I don’t drink coffee or tea.
  • 29. Favorite Book on Writing: The writing book Save the Cat that I did a blog on has become very instrumental to my writing and I would still credit, Structuring Your Novel and Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weland as a fantastic set of reference books to help any manuscript!
  • 30. Favorite Writing Inspired Quote: Not much of a quote person. I like some but don’t memorize them.
  • 31. Favorite Halloween Tradition: My father and I started making my Halloween costumes at a very young age (I think maybe 5). It was the chance to really explore my creativity and imagination. The holiday meant a lot to me and I still like to dress each year.

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

STC

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.

Jbrody

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!).