Introducing Save the Cat®

Today we heartily welcome Save the Cat’s WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR of Save the Cat! Structure Software and Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody.

About Save the Cat!®

Save the Cat! provides writers the resources they need to develop their screenplays and novels based on a series of best-selling books, primarily written by Blake Snyder (1957- 2009). Blake’s method is based on 10 distinctive genres and his 15 story beats (the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet). Our books, workshops, story structure software, apps, and story coaching teach you everything you need to unlock the fundamentals and mechanics of plot and character transformation.

Find out more about Save the Cat! by visiting their website.

About the Save the Cat Structure Software

Save the Cat! Story Structure Software is adapted from the Save the Cat! methodology to help screenwriters and novelists unlock the fundamentals of plot and character transformation. The Story Structure Software is a virtual writer board with digital index cards to help map out your story against the 15 beats or plot points to your story. The software enables writers to track emotional shifts of characters from scene to scene, develop profiles and edit and version your story with ease.

You can purchase a subscription to the Save the Cat! Structure Software at Save the Cat’s website.

Now here’s Jessica with her sage words on how to get ideas for our novels:

How to Choose the Best Idea to Write

By Jessica Brody

So, here’s the problem. You’ve got an idea for a novel or short story or screenplay, but you don’t know if it’s good enough. Or if it’s worth writing. Or maybe you’ve got hundreds of ideas and you’re having trouble deciding which one to actually write. Hopefully, this tip will help.

For me, one of the best indicators that I’ve got a good story idea is when I can already see the “fish out of water” moments playing out in my head.

What does this mean?

Well, readers love to read about heroes who have to step out of their comfort zones and confront new and interesting things that they may not be prepared for.

Think of about what happens to a fish when you take them out of water. They don’t just step out of the bowl and go, “Great! New obstacle! New world! Can’t breathe, but no problem, I’ve got this!” They flop around, right? They flounder. They struggle. They don’t fit.

And to me, that’s what makes stories interesting. When the hero doesn’t fit. Doesn’t have it all figured out. Doesn’t tackle every obstacle with ease and grace. Heroes are more interesting to read about when they’re put to the test. And what makes for better conflict than a fish out of water?

(Now, please someone put that real fish back in the bowl, so he doesn’t die. No fish were harmed in the making of this blog post.)

I find that the novel ideas that are “smoothest” for me to write are the ones that come with this “fish out of water” element built right into the premise. Like a Harvard professor on the run from the law in The Davinci Code by Dan Brown, a lowly mapmaker thrust into the world of the magical elite in Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, a shopaholic with crippling credit card debt navigating the world of financial journalism in Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. Or a spoiled teen heiress who has to work 52 low-wage jobs in order to earn her trust fund in my own novel, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father.

Identifying this element in your story idea early on is a great “test” to determine if you’ve got an idea worth writing. Because if it’s too easy for your hero to navigate through the premise of your story, you’ll quickly run out of storytelling juice, and readers probably won’t stick around to find out what happens next.


Thank you, Jessica. This is a great help.


About Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

An Amazon #1 best seller with over 500 reviews, it’s the first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.

In this revolutionary novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! series, novelist Jessica Brody demystifies each beat, making it simple to learn the complexities of storytelling. The best-seller also reveals the ten universal story genres to help you drill down into what makes your type of story work. Featuring sample “beat sheets” for hits from the likes of J. K. Rowling, Khaled Hosseini, and Stephen King, this practical guide also includes real-world advice on pitching your novel, plus the quirky, original insights (like the eponymous tip to “Save the Cat”) that make this series unique. By the end of this book, your own imaginative beats will combine to create a story that thrills readers from start to finish.

Print Length: 320 Pages
Genre: Writing References
Publisher: Ten Speed Press/Random House Publishing LLC
ISBN-10: 0399579745

Save the Cat! Writes the Novel is available as a print and e-book at and Barnes and Noble.

About Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody is the author of the #1 bestselling plotting guide, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel, as well as over 20 novels for teens tweens, and adults. Her credits include 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, The Chaos of Standing Still, Better You than Me, the Unremembered trilogy and the System Divine trilogy (a sci-fi re-imagining of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables). Her books have been translated in over 23 countries and several have been optioned for film and television. She travels the country teaching Save the Cat! workshops to novelists.

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