Save the Cat! Novel Calculator
If you’re writing a novel or short story using the Save the Cat! beat sheet and wondering exactly where your beats should fall, then have I got a cool tool for you! (Not to mention a nice rhyme there.)
When outlining, writing, or revising a novel, it’s helpful to know not only what story beats to hit (like the Catalyst, Break into 2, Fun and Games, Midpoint, and All is Lost) but also where they fall in your particular story. Hitting the right beats on the right page (or at right word count) will help set up your story’s pacing and ensure you’re on track to craft an engaging story that readers will devour from start to finish. And the Save the Cat Novel Calculator can help you do just that.
The Save the Cat! Novel Calculator is a tool to determine where each beat should be placed in your manuscript based on the total page count or word count of your story.
According to the Save the Cat! storytelling method, each beat should appear at a specific place in your story (i.e. the Catalyst comes around 10%, the Break into 2 around 20% and the Midpoint around 50%). The calculator simply does the math for you, multiplying these percentages by your total page (or word) count to give you a fairly accurate estimate of where each beat should go in your story.
Keep in mind, however, these calculations are based on an average of all novels, which means your novel may vary. The calculator’s result is meant to be a guideline only. All stories are a little different, so your beats might not fall exactly on the mark. And that’s okay! After all, writing is an art, not an exact science.
How to Use the Calculator
Simply enter your actual or estimated total Word/Page Count and click the Calculate Beats button to see the results.
If you don’t have an actual or estimate for your total Page/Word Count yet, choose a few popular novels that are in your same genre and use an average of those to come up with an estimate. Again, the goal here is not to be exact, but to give some general guidelines.
To give a few examples, here are some average Page and Word Counts for a few genres:
|Genre||Average Page Count||Average Word Count|
|General Fiction||280 to 400 pages||70,000 to 100,000 words|
|Science Fiction / Fantasy||360 to 400 pages||90,000 to 100,000 words|
|Thriller / Horror / Mystery||280 to 360 pages||70,000 to 90,000 words|
|Young Adult||240 to 360 pages||60,000 to 90,000 words|
The Save the Cat! Novel Calculator
|Beat||Page / Word Count|
|Break Into 2|
|Fun and Games|
|Bad Guys Close In|
|All Is Lost|
|Dark Night of the Soul|
|Break Into 3|
Hope this calculator is helpful! If you’d like to learn more about how to write a novel using the Save the Cat! method, check out my book, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel and the official online companion course, available on Writing Mastery Academy. Filed under: Save the Cat Tips for Writers Writing Mastery Tagged with: beat sheet save the cat save the cat writes a novel STC Starter Kit (LMAP) Tips for Writers writing tips