Save the Cat! Writes the Novel: A Book Review

May 18, 2020
I'm a writing advice fan and I'm always open to exploring the latest and greatest way a writer can improve upon their process. I first heard about "Save the Cat!" through a few ladies from WOW! Women on Writing. When I put the blog tour together, I knew I wanted to review this book too.

In Save the Cat! Writes the Novel, you are introduced to a few things. First, you are introduced to their story structure via 15 story beats. These are those 15 beats:

Opening Image.
Theme Stated.
Break into 2
B Story
Fun and Games
Bad Guys Close In
All is Lost
Dark Night of the Soul
Break into 3
Final Image

Don't let these 15 beats intimidate you! These 15 story beats are visited in depth in this book. One of my favorite aspects of this book is that it utilizes popular fiction in order to portray what each beat represents.

Another really interesting aspect to the book is that it introduces new genres. And they provide insight into how readers usually expect novels in these genres to wrap up. I think this is incredibly helpful if you feel stuck in your storytelling or you feel like something isn't "right" with the story you are trying to tell.

The thing is I am a "pantser" or another term I've heard recently is, I'm a "discovery" writer. I don't outline in advance but what I like is the idea of using these beats to track the direction I want to go in my story. Without outlining, I run the risk of being aimless and Save the Cat! Writes the Novel provides me with a map that I can use along the way.

If you are trying to find your own writing method or your own writing storytelling process, I absolutely recommend that you purchase this book. It will help you as it helped me. Whatever kind of writing you do, you will be helped by this book.

Visit for more information about their book and software. 

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.

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The Impact of Making Lists (And a Book Review)

May 13, 2020

I am a checklist person. At the end of my day, I bring out my notebook and write down the things that I need to do for the next day. If I'm feeling particularly inspired, I write down lists of things accomplished that day (which always makes me feel good). So, I couldn't wait to read Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book. It was right in line with what I love doing (making lists) and I wanted to see what else lists can do for me.

About The Checklist Book by Alexandra Franzen

Simplicity at its best: The checklist is one of the world’s oldest―and most effective―productivity systems. If anything, author and entrepreneur Alexandra Franzen shares, it is just as valuable now as it was during the days of the Roman Empire. Writing out a simple checklist allows us to tangibly plan our day and set in stone what we want to accomplish.

Cut out unnecessary noise: There are countless apps and organizational systems out there to help us straighten out our lives, but often they only add to the madness. Trying to keep up leaves us feeling drained and overwhelmed. Learn how to choose your highest priorities, set realistic goals, celebrate tiny wins, and feel calmer every day with the magic of checklists.

Be realistic about the time in a day: By physically writing down our tasks on a single piece of paper, we force ourselves to limit how much we can do in a day. Too often, we cram our day with tasks and chores and leave almost no space for self-care or time with loved ones. We end up disappointed in our inability to complete our never-ending to-do list. Checklists help you plan your day in a more gentle, realistic way. You accomplish what needs to be done―and enjoy things you want to be doing, too.

In the life-changing Checklist Book, learn:

The history of the checklist and why it remains to be relevant and effective today

The science behind the success of checklists, such as the instant satisfaction we feel when we put a check next to a finished task

How to create a basic daily checklist―and checklists for specific situations, like moving to a new city or navigating a divorce

How to checklists can help your writing?

After reading Alexandra's book, I felt inspired. Lately, I have been reviewing old notebooks and everyone and then I will come across an old idea. Usually, it's a snippet, like a brief story scene, or dialogue, or the very beginning of an idea. After reading The Checklist Book, I wondered could I be using more lists in my writing? You see, when I get an idea, I tend to be sporadic as to where to put the idea. Sometimes it's my phone. Sometimes it's an app. Sometimes it's a notebook. As I've explored my writing from the past, I am led to do collect the ideas I've found and put them in a central place. Like a checklist. 

What I really loved Alexandra's book is that she provides templates and walks you through ways you can build your own checklists. She also helps you with troubleshooting what may be holding you back from using a checklist. Not only that, but Alexandra Franzen is also an incredibly inspirational writer. I felt inspired after reading this book. This will be especially inspiring for me as I build my latest blog,

While I can't imagine having a checklist for each day, but I can imagine using it in my writing. This book inspires me to use more lists in keeping my ideas, characters, and everything else for my writing organized. I may just get more writing done that way. 

If you are trying to transform your thinking, I recommend you take a look at Alexandra's book. You will be really glad you did.

The Checklist Book is available to purchase online at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Target.

Alexandra Franzen is the author of several books, including So This Is the End: A Love Story (2018), You're Going to Survive (2017), and 50 Ways to Say "You're Awesome" (2013).
She has written articles for dozens of sites, including Time, Forbes, Newsweek, HuffPost, The Muse, and Lifehacker. She's been mentioned/quoted in The New York Times Small Business Blog, The Atlantic, USA Today, BuzzFeed, Brit+Co, and Inc. 

Alexandra is best-known for writing about creativity, productivity, the power of setting tiny goals, how to develop more confidence in your writing skills, and how to stay motivated, keep working towards your personal and professional dreams, and never give up.

She also works as a copywriter, ghostwriter, writing teacher, and consultant. She helps her clients to develop podcasts, videos, websites, speeches, books, and other creative projects.

Find Alexandra's latest projects, classes, and hundreds of free articles and resources at:

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