Can I Save the Cat?

Lynn Sheridan Can I Save the Cat Banner

Firstly, don’t panic. There isn’t a cat in need of saving. I am, of course, referring to the plotting technique known as Save the Cat. That also means that I’ve been plotting, but to what ends?

There is no Cat!

This week’s post is going to be a shorter one and probably about the length you can expect going forward. So, what about this damn cat already? Well, Save the Cat is a tool for outlining a story developed by Blake Snyder. If you’re not familiar with outlining methods this may strike you as a fairly boring and strict idea. Some might even say that it stifles creativity.

In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, there are those who consider themselves “pantsers”, which means that they write by the seat of their pants with no idea of where their characters will take them next. This might sound like a lot of fun, but it can lead to the dreaded writer’s block, especially if your characters have taken you down a dead end.

What Save the Cat does is give you a number of beats that you’ll want to hit if you are to put together a cohesive story. Again, it can be done without an outline, but personally, I’m a plotter and I like having something to work with. By now, you’re probably wondering what the point of all this is. Well, I have decided to take on NaNoWriMo which is the National Novel Writing Month. Every November thousands of people around the world attempt to write a fifty-thousand-word novel in thirty days.

And since I’ve been working on the Black Death for a while now, I decided to try something completely different. A little while back I was on a flight from Ottawa to Thunder Bay and inspiration hit me. It hit me so hard that I opened up a Google Doc on my phone and wrote down a brief outline. It ended up being about two-thousand words and then I left it there while I was working on other things. It’s time to bring it to life!

You may or may not know that I love anime. It’s probably my favourite thing to do outside of work to the point that I’d probably call it a hobby. Anyhow, this story follows a guy who drifts between seasonal jobs. He works on beaches in the summers and at ski resorts in the winters. Fun fact, I was actually planning on doing that but life had other plans. Anyhow, this fulltime drifter gets hired to work at a beach island resort for mystical creatures by mistake. And then fun stuff happens.

I’m still trying to pin down exactly what genre this is, but it’s got elements of action, comedy, romance, and the supernatural. My initial feeling is to market it as a light novel complete with an anime-inspired cover. Of course, I’m a million miles away from that point yet as I haven’t even written it!

This is where the Save the Cat comes in. The last week, I have been slowly outlining the entire story. My initial outline was good, but using Save the Cat made me realise I was missing almost the entire middle of the story. Anyhow, I’ve been working on that and should have it ready to start writing on November 1. I’m actually really excited to see how this turns out.

Piha Beach New Zealand
My favourite beach in the world.

Last Week’s Achievements

I worked through more of the Black Death’s chronological issues and am starting to get an idea of how to fix them. It’s going to include a couple of time changes and repositioning of chapters. One part of the story will get pushed back to the end of book one. Hopefully, it won’t need too much changing as I really like what we have. I just want to make sure that the story flows.

I got through a lot of my anime posts for my blogs, scheduling everything that can be scheduled ahead of time now. That will leave me with loads more time in November to get my Black Death edits done and still be able to complete NaNoWriMo.

The Future

I am about three-thousand words into my new outline and am approaching the middle of the story. By the end of this week, I hope to have the outline done so that I can hit the ground running on November 1 which is a Sunday. At this rate, my outline should end up close to eight thousand words. I also think the complete story will come around sixty-thousand words, but either way, I’ll try to get it completed in November.

Well, I better get back to work. I have four days to get all my prep work done. I look forward to giving you an update on how NaNoWriMo is going as I’ll be three days in by the time of my next update.

Anyhow, thanks for reading.

Lynn Sheridan

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