I haven’t written much this week, not even for the website. Time has been scarce, and depression hit me quite badly at the end of last week. What I have written is a short draft of an article for next week’s mental health slot on Tuesday. I’m going to extend it from an assignment I completed for the writing side of my degree.
I recently subscribed to Mslexia magazine, and I used it for the exercise. We had to write an article based on the house style of a chosen magazine, after working out (or trying to) said house style. A house style is the guidelines writers use when writing for magazines or newspapers or online publications. It’s there to make sure that everything stays consistent – punctuation, paragraphs, fonts, use of italics, etc. I actually enjoyed the exercise, I learned, and I’d like to think that maybe one day a magazine will publish something I’ve written.
Save the Cat!
This structure system was originally created for screenwriters. The name comes from the book Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It consists of 15 “beats” for the writer to hit throughout the story. These beats are outlined in the resources below.
There are some free worksheets online to help you work through the beats, including a free spreadsheet that calculates where these beats should be within your story depending on your wordcount. These are again, lined at the bottom.
I didn’t find much success when I tried to use Save the Cat. It makes sense, and it’s a really good system for outlining, especially if you’re writing something similar to a TV show, or film. I just don’t think it works for my brain type.