A little group therapy always helps

Blake Snyder has been a screenwriter for more than 20 years, but when he took a notion to use his experience to help other writers improve and sell their work, he found himself having so much fun that he was propelled in an entirely new direction. The lecturer and author of two screenwriting how-to books, Save the Cat! and Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies, says: “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be creative. You can be creative by putting a fresh spin on something you already know. That’s what the job is.”

Layout 1Snyder’s books have been selling well as the result of viral publicity among scriptwriters and their agents and managers. And it hasn’t escaped novelists’ and speechwriters’ notice that screenwriters are onto something. Writers in diverse media have begun applying Snyder’s style and methods.

As he became acquainted with romance novelists in his workshops, Snyder was impressed by their supportive networking associations and by the sense of camaraderie enjoyed by members of Romance Writers of America. “Their model is one I’d really like to copy,” he said. “They have the right spirit, in my opinion.”

Building community has been professionally rewarding. Each time he holds a workshop, anywhere in the world, Snyder encourages the participants to join or establish a local Cat! group, so they can continue to critique each other’s writing, share industry news and marketing strategies, and avoid the isolation hard-working writers often experience. “Let’s see this for what it is,” insists Snyder, “which is a really fun pursuit.”

Blake Snyder will be the lunch speaker at the BookExpo America/Writer’s Digest Books Writers Conference on May 28, 2008, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I’ll enjoy the chance to meet him—and you!—there. You’ll be able to read the results of my interview with Snyder at the end of this year, when Writer’s Digest Books releases a new title in the Writer’s Market guidebook series, the 2009 Screenwriter’s and Playwright’s Market edited by Chuck Sambuchino.

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