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  • Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

  • The Last Book on Novel Writing You'll Ever Need
  • By: Jessica Brody
  • Narrated by: Jessica Brody
  • Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (211 ratings)

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Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

By: Jessica Brody
Narrated by: Jessica Brody
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Summary

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 audiobook lays out the 10 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.

With a PDF that includes charts, lists, and exercises from the audiobook.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Jessica Brody (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“Every novelist should own a copy of this book. It will change the way you think about stories - and your writing. Jessica Brody takes the mystery and frustration out of plotting a novel. I’ll never write another book without a copy of Save the Cat! Writes a Novel.” (Kami Garcia, number-one New York Times best-selling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures and author of Broken Beautiful Hearts)

"Good plotters aren't born. They're formed by studying the twists and turns of others' stories. Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is a perfect plot study tool for all levels of writer. It will help you dissect any plot conundrum, conceive your story's blueprint, and give a beat to every pivot of your hero's journey." (Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month and author of Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo)

“Through its insightful use of beat sheets, genres, and trade secrets, this book is an invaluable guide through the daunting task of writing a novel.” (Jessica Khoury, author of The Forbidden Wish and Last of Her Name)

What listeners say about Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

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Excellent!

This is very practical audiobook with useful PDF companion that I found very helpful. It's worth recommending to anybody who writes fiction but I found it very interesting tool to analyse the books I know and well love. One of the best guides I have ever bought.

10 people found this helpful

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Formula over creativity.

This is a sad place for any writer to end up.

Why write what you feel when you can write to a formula for success and money. The worst of humanity, where commerce directs art.

Shakespeare, Dickens, Bronte, Tolkien and many more made better without this lame approach.

7 people found this helpful

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nobody likes vocal fry! why do it?

good book but can't finish it due to vocal fry of narrator. just can't bear it. sorry

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Marketing fir itself.

I feel in general, that when I've bought something I don't need more commercials for the thing I've bought. This book seems like one long marketing ploy fit itself. It is inedible. Nothing new here either. Just common sense crammed into a list. When come to think of it; when was the last time I heard a world renowned author praise the existence of some list of his that made all his characters come to life? Can't remember, must have been many...
I think that if you drink yourself to near death for thirty years and then, just as you're about to finish it of by rope, you decide to write a novel instead, it stands a far better chance of being an interesting read than if you read this book instead.
With that said, there seems only one way ahead. I guess I'm of to the Barnacle. How about you?

3 people found this helpful

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Fantastic! does exactly what it says in the title

Absolutely fantastic! This is the best book on writing I have ever listened to. I would highly recommend it to writers starting out.

3 people found this helpful

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Recycled material/Plagiarism and reading of lists.

Jessica Brody fails in an attempt to adapt Blake Snyder's brilliant book on screenwriting to novel writing. Even on a basic level, the author draws from movie examples trying to assign them to the standard beats/acts that you should be including in your novel. There is a lot of reading of lists, Jessica would start chapters reeling of names of movies and their writers (multiple times in case we forget) in order to fill time - but it gets repetitive and boring very quickly. She literally lists films and their beats in full.

If you're writing or working on a novel there are much better books out there - try the great courses ones. There is very little in this about actually developing your novel - just a verbal spreadsheet of beats, acts, and movies - avoid!

2 people found this helpful

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Ok for beginners but doesn't offer anything unique

Some valuable information, and certainly a book beginners could find useful. But much of it was filled with generic formulaic fluff that you've probably heard before if you've read any other books like this. I expected a bit more.

1 person found this helpful

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it's up to you whether to follow the formula

I understand people's apprehension towards very formulaic structure this book presents.

My speech to this book read whether or not you want to learn about the formula.

Just because there is a formula does not mean you have to follow it, my approach is that I would rather know about the formula and decide how I would like to apply it to my writing.

I suggest giving this book a try learning the formula and then decide how much you want to apply to own writing.

1 person found this helpful

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Save the cat but better

I’d been recommended save the cat, but to find a new edition focused on writing rather than screenplay was a bonus.

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Helpful steer when yah don’t know where to turn

Listened at x2 speed and as a novice not-yet-novel writer I found it helpful to get a sense of the behind the scenes of story writing. Sections were clear and easy to follow. The accompanying pdf was super helpful and made for a great audiobook package as it was nicely delivered but still with written things to go back and reference when needed.

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  • SB
  • 26-02-19

Tip for finding the PDF!!!

I called customer service looking for the promised PDF. Turns out the file isn’t viewable via the Audible app. You have to log onto the actual Audible website for the “view PDF” link to appear in your library.

187 people found this helpful

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  • Arial Burnz
  • 23-10-18

Yes...It IS the LAST Book on Novel Writing...

Yes...this IS the LAST book on novel writing you'll ever need. And it should be the FIRST if you're just getting into novel writing.

I've been writing for over 20 years and this book takes the guess work out of how to write a GOOD or even SPECTACULAR novel. As an editor, I've encountered hundreds of horrible stories that had a ton of potential. If I had this book when I was an editor, I would have recommended it to every single one of my writers. It not only helps you craft a great story, but it helps you tighten up one you have already written.

I was a bit put off at first that the author was narrating the novel (because that doesn't go well more often than not), but I'm too busy NOT to have bought the audiobook. I just don't have the time to sit down and focus in the middle of a remodel and I've already read the Save the Cat! books for screenplays. I knew this would be good. My attitude was that I would grin and bear it and glean the information. Jessica Brody did a surprisingly good job and the production quality was superb! No clicks, inappropriate breaths or technical issues.

This has already helped me figure out what's wrong with my current WIP (work in progress) and why my other novels aren't as good as they can be. I'll be recommending this to all my author friends and I won't plot another book without it!

71 people found this helpful

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  • M.C. Gallacher
  • 23-03-19

A nice compilation of best practices

I'm not a published writer but have always enjoyed a good science-fiction novel. I've always thought about writing a short story or a novel, so I thought I would give this book a try. I was surprised how much of the book was information I had heard before in little bits and pieces. It actually inspired confidence in me that I could write something that someone else would enjoy reading. In other words, that writing is a learnable skill and that I could do it.

I found the organization of the book to be useful and the examples to be more helpful than I anticipated. I am a skeptic by nature and believe that we has humans tend to accept evidence which supports our existing views and discard evidence which does not. I wondered at first if the examples would just be one-offs which support the methodology described in this book. The examples certainly do fit well with the hypothesis.

However, as I examine additional popular stories and movies, I increasingly believe that the approach described in this book is more the rule and less the exception. This doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of classic tales which don't follow this pattern, but that's not even the point. Creative writing (by definition IMO) doesn't have rules but that doesn't preclude certain tales/genres/patterns from being particularly appealing to the human mind.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Chinwe
  • 10-10-18

Excellent work!

I preordered the book, but was pleasantly surprised to see the audible version was released the same day. I just couldn't stop listening. I've been a fan of save the cat, and this book, in my opinion is the "missing link" that unites the other books, for a deeper and yet simple understanding of the Blake Snyder beat sheet method. Good job!

14 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin Potter
  • 05-06-19

A good blueprint

As with the Save The Cat screenwriting book, there is a lot of awesome information to be found here.

The flip side to that, is there are some things I disagree with.

That being said, if you're a writer or an aspiring writer of any skill level and at any point in your career (or lack thereof), this is absolutely a book you should read.

Regardless of how long you've been writing or how good your writing is, I challenge anyone to read this and not glean at least a handful of nuggets of wisdom.

If nothing else, there is a wonderful beat sheet that will almost certainly revolutionize either your outline process or your revision process, depending on what sort of writer you are.

11 people found this helpful

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  • AJ
  • 16-02-19

More a compliation of book reviws

After reading online reviews touting the greatness of the instruction found in this book like "The last book on writing novel you'll ever need" and "If only I'd found this book years ago" one could be forgiven for expecting the seas to part and the mists retreat as you are treated to a treasure trove of knowledge that will transform your writing forever.

Sadly this was NOT the case for me. In truth it was quite the opposite. Through a brief introduction in the first chapter Brody describes what she calls the 15 "beats" found in every story. This basically covers common plot points and story archs popularly found in various genres. If you've read other books on writing, you will have seen much of the same type of information presented. just in a more concise manner.

Most of this book reads like a long compilation of novel reviews, with brief references to a "beat" that is approaching or passed by. (Along with page numbers of said book. So that you could read Harry Potter and scan through pages 553-601* to see the "break into 3" happen for yourself.

The PDF that comes with the book on audible is useful once you have learned the slang and terminology she uses when describing plot/arch points of various story genres. This certainly is helpful in allowing you to more go back and look at examples without listening to lengthy novel reviews repeatedly.

Yet listening to long reviews and descriptions of books is exactly what you hear in this book with comments on "beats" peppered in. Some of the beats seem shoehorned in and out of place as if inserted later purely to imply a universal application of the method. Considering that the entire book is based on a method originally designed for television & movie screenwriters, it makes sense that some of her technique translates better then others.

The gut of the book revolves around tying plot and characters into the cat method. If your looking for a how to on great characters, or plot I have seen it done better elsewhere. Likewise if you want a jack of all trades book that covers gambit of useful novelist techniques it too as been done better elsewhere.

That is not to say this book is empty. Once I had mined and bookmarked the tiny nuggets of information and downloaded the PDF there were some interesting patterns that appeared to take shape. Were they coincidences or a true recipe to a masterful novel? I leave that to you, but allow me to end with this:

As I listened I could not escape the thought returning that I was reading a lot of fluff to inflate page count in a book that could convey the information and plenty of good examples of their use in FAR fewer pages.


*The pages and location cited were made up as an example, please don't go looking there. (I don't even think there are that many pages in the book tbh. :)

11 people found this helpful

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  • Drew Ross
  • 12-04-19

A wonderfully fun roadmap.

One of the first steps to actually writing your novel is to break down the daunting task into manageable parts. Only then are you able to write with some idea of where you are going. This is the most user friendly roadmap I’ve encountered yet.

8 people found this helpful

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  • E.H.
  • 09-06-19

Genuine effort, and thorough content, albeit a bit cheesy

I was pretty skeptical of this book, with the awareness that my inexperience would naturally make me bristle at the writer’s somewhat technical attitude towards plotting. And there were some aspects that I found hard to accept, but mostly I thought this book and the author had some fantastic insight into storytelling, and how the craft can be focused into great production.

The reading itself by the author was heartfelt, and I personally appreciate the effort, but it was also a little cheesy.

That being said, the genuine approach, coupled with what was at its core extremely detailed information, made this a great audiobook, and I’m glad I experienced it. I’d recommend this to any writer. Thanks Mrs. Brody!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Johnny Gonzalez
  • 28-04-19

A book that can’t be beat!

Phenomenal instructional book. You truly will not need another about how to write a novel.
The overall four star rating is not a reflection of the book or the author, but rather of audible because I did not receive the bonus PDF; or at the very least could not find it. When you buy the book, check for the PDF. If you don’t receive it, be sure to contact audible before you start the book. Now, I’m off for a re-read and a hunt for the PDF!

7 people found this helpful

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  • TBanny
  • 18-10-18

loved it

I have been waiting for a long time for cave the cat to come out in a book just for novels and it didn't disappoint

6 people found this helpful