Diane and Hannah discuss Save the Cat! and other writing guides
The main takeaway from this episode: you have to know structure, but there are no easy ways through building your story. You have to put in the work.
Diane showed a number of graphics during the podcast, which she has posted below the cut, at the bottom of this page. Feel free to leave questions about any of these! (And yes, Hannah has pointed out that Diane messed up with the labeling on the Four Act pic.)
Hannah has a Goodreads giveaway (worldwide!!) coming up later this month. Check back here for details.
Book and media recommendations and mentions:
- Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder
- The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson
- Eric Heisserer’s book 150 Screenwriting Challenges.
- Shawn Coyne’s series at The Story Grid
- No Country For Old Men: brilliant movie by the Coen Brothers. Something interesting happens at the end of Act 2 — this movie is worth watching for no other reason than to figure out WHY this is actually the perfect end to Act 2.
Next week’s episode: Finish what you started, yo
All of the graphics shown during the episode are below the cut
This is the traditional Three Act Structure: three acts, with Act II twice the size of Acts I and III. Those lines indicate the “big moments” that herald an Act shift: at the end of Act I, the hero has a problem and commits to some course of action. At the end of Act II, pursuing that course of action has led to a situation where the problem has developed and must be dealt with one way or the other.
Some writers divide Act II into two parts, pointing to the important plot element of the Midpoint.
Some writers talk about the Four Act Structure, which looks an awful lot like the Three Act Structure with a midpoint. (Also, that second Act III should read “Act IV.” But you knew that. And Diane’s not great with graphics programs.)
At USC, Diane learned the 8 Sequence technique. Every sequence has a specific role to play in the development of the story. Sure looks a lot like the other Act structures.
The Hero’s Journey divides the story up into eight basic steps…
Lots of writers point to the Story Circle, created by Dan Harmon (creator of “Community”). It has eight sections.
Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! beat sheet:
Notice what all of these structure forms purport to deal with. The messiness that is Act 2: