When I first read “Save the Cat” in around 2004, I was floored. I had the epiphany that this was a general story pattern that applied to movies, but also to novels.
I worked through it for screenplays, and finally, sputtered. No screenplay. The idea just would not behave and walk through the beat sheet properly. I felt lost.
I tried another approach. I started using Scrivener project targets and just required that I write first 200, then 500, and now 700 words per day. And I started talking through to myself a novel, using “Save the Cat Writes a Novel. And it is gradually coming together. Steadily. Without the feeling of loss and confusion that always showed up pretty soon after trying to do this. Instead, 700 words per day is enough to keep momentum. I’m not requiring this to be draft words in any way, just ANY words, and I’ve been working through the Beat Sheet. So far I am up to “Fun and Games” right after the break for the second act. I have a solid flawed main character. I have the Setup, solidly in place, and the Catalyst and debate. I have the moment that breaks into Act 2, and I have the entrance of the B Story Character into the story. I’ve stolen all kinds of wonderful things from other stories, and I’ve found resonant moments from my own life to gift to my characters.
In other words, it goes quite well.