Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blake Snyder, 1957 - 2009

My job has kept me too busy lately to keep up with blog writing or blog reading, in part because all these celebrities keep dying on my watch. But I was dismayed, while going through my Google Reader backlogs, to learn that Blake Snyder had passed away suddenly on August 4th.

Snyder is best remembered by moviegoers as the writer for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Blank Check, but remembered even more fondly by the writing community for his screenwriting bible Save the Cat! But don't let the word "screenwriting" fool you - Cat is a brilliant blueprint for any writer, from novelist to playwright to, yes, screenwriter. With great humor and verve, Snyder lays out the basics of shaping a great story in a clear and refreshing way I have yet to see in any other writing how-to book. In fact, I'm generally against writing how-to books, but this one is absolutely essential. His passing touches me more than any of the others in the Summer of Death.

In an eerie coincidence, I purchased the sequel to Save the Cat! on the day he died. I was in Union Square's Barnes and Noble, killing time between an article interview and work, and spotted it on a table full of screenwriting books. I was surprised, I hadn't even realized he'd written a sequel. I picked it up, hoping it would cure me of my nasty writing procrastination streak. Now I'll appreciate it as among the last words of a gifted teacher and storyteller who truly loved movies and wanted to share that passion.

He'll be missed, but at least his words of wisdom will live on in his books and his stellar blog.

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