[Here are my thoughts on Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, for the Progressive Book Club.]
Why, oh why, would anyone dedicate a chapter to made-up genres relevant to nothing?
Snyder stresses the importance of knowing your market and knowing your audience. He recommends approaching strangers within your target demographic to ask what they think of your logline. So why, oh why, does he describe a ridiculous genre of 'Man With a Problem' and crowd Die Hard, Titanic, and Schindler's List under that dubious umbrella? To me, this makes no sense.
Audience aside, Snyder refers to traditional genres: romantic comedy, drama etc., throughout the book, and defines 'genre' as such in his own glossary. So, what, oh what, is the point of chapter two?
Chapter three reveals that a movie needs a hero with a goal. Hmm, okay, nothing startling about that piece of news.
Chapter four discusses structure and uses Miss Congeniality as an example. By now, I'm thinking Mr. Snyder and I are not quite on the same sailing ship, but one of us is obviously at sea.
The visual tools Snyder recommends in chapter five, I found useful. The concept of writing plot points on index cards and arranging them in five acts is by no means original, but I appreciate the practical and visual methods recommended by the author, and I confess, I have tried it.
At around page 121, 64% of the way through the book, Snyder finally caught my attention with the fun advice about the 'Pope in the Pool,' and the 'Double Mumbo Jumbo.' I chuckled at the irony of 'Laying Pipe' and 'Watch out for that Glacier,' and I don't really remember much about the rest of the book.
I give Save the Cat, 5 out of 10. I won't deny I learned something, and it's always worth reading a book if it sends you away with one useful tip, but half of me wishes I had taken the advice of the title and donated my ten bucks to the Snow Leopard Trust.