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Posts tagged ‘save the cat’

Original idea & logline: using them to write a better story, part two

In my previous post, I wrote about the importance of writing down your one-sentence original idea. This is the very first idea you had—whether it’s about plot, character, or theme—that got you excited about writing your story. Reading your original idea each day before writing will keep you focused on your story. 

Another exercise is to develop your one-sentence logline. In his book, Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, screenwriter Blake Snyder said that if we develop our logline before we begin writing, it will help us write a better manuscript.

According to Snyder, there are four main elements to a great logline:

  1. A good logline has to have irony. He gives an example from the blockbuster movie Pretty Woman: “A businessman falls in love with a hooker he hires to be his date for the weekend.” Pretty ironic, huh? Another way to define irony, Snyder said, is that something unexpected happens. He also calls this the “hook.” Read more

The number one way to create a likable character

The late screenwriter and writing mentor Blake Synder taught that in order to have your reader or audience fall in love with your main character, you had to have a “save the cat” scene. This is a scene where your protagonist performs a simple act of compassion toward another.

In Snyder’s words, “It’s the scene where we meet the hero and the hero does something–like saving a cat–that defines who he is and makes us, the audience, like him.” (From Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need).

Watch the short clip below of Clint Eastwood’s “Hang ‘Em High,” hosted by author Steve White, that shows the “save the cat” scene in action:

To read what Snyder has to say about titles, see my previous post, “A killer title must have irony and tell a tale.”