Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Save the Cat and other Wednesday Stuff

Revisions are sometimes endless journeys for me. Occasionally, everything works just right and I know my characters inside and out and okay yeah, sometimes I have to cut an extra character who although funny and sweet seems to have no actual purpose in the novel. But it  works.

And then sometimes, it's sort of working and there are all the right scenes but there's just something...

Been reading Save the Cat. It's aimed toward screen writing but story telling advice is story telling advice and besides, I'm going on the BEST WRITER RETREAT EVER next month and we all promised to read it, so even though I was already reading I'm even more excited about the whole thing.

Blake Synder really breaks it down. Why movies work and why they don't. Why even your hero needs to do something small and winning right at the beginning so that the audience will root for her/him and, in my case, allow her to whine a little along the way because they know from the get go that she 'saved the cat' so even if she's a user now and then she is REDEEMABLE and WORTHY of the JOURNEY.

And that every damn scene better have conflict and an emotional character arc.
Which I already knew.
But sometimes you need reminding.

Otherwise, you have conversations with your agent (who even as I type this is typing up her new revision notes, which I think will be it but you just never know) that sound a lot like this:

Cowgirl Jen: Not working for me.
Me; What?
Cowgirl Jen: The so what. It's not so- what-ing enough.
Me: Oh but it is.
Cowgirl Jen: Nope.
Me: Crap.
Cowgirl Jen: Get at it. There's a lot riding on this.
Me: Is that a cowgirl pun?
Cowgirl Jen: *makes face over the internets*
Me: *makes face back*
Cowgirl Jen: I saw that.
Me: But
Cowgirl Jen: What does your hero want? What does she really really want?
Me: Are you singing?
Cowgirl Jen:  *manages to kick me over the interwebs*
Me: Wahhhhh!!!
Cowgirl Jen: I did fall in love with her romantic interest though. I luuuuurve him. You've got that just right. 
Me: yay?
Cowgirl Jen: Here are my notes. Get to work. Hurry. The clock is ticking.

And on like that.
Nora Roberts has written like what? 200 books?
I prefer writing one book on repeat.... like Groundhog Day only without Bill Murray.


Emily said...

Also reading 'Save the Cat.' Hoping it will save my writing. Or riding, if I was in Texas and a cowgirl. Either way.

I'm jealous of your writing retreat! I need one.

Vonna said...

You're running so fast you'll pass up Nora in no time!