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Instant Character Bonding … In One Scene

Hooking a reader’s interest starts with the first line. Getting the reader to connect with your character on an emotional level so they stay with the story has to follow immediately. But how? That’s what I wanted to know.

Who knew the answer was in the first sixty seconds of the classic Clint Eastwood film “Hang ‘Em High”?

It’s what Blake Snyder calls a Save the Cat! moment.

In Blake Snyder’s words, a Save the Cat scene is…

…where we meet the hero and he does something — like save a cat — that defines who he is and makes us, the audience, like him.

And OK, so Clint saves a calf, not a cat? It still has the same effect. That one simple act of compassion makes us like him. We instantly care about what happens to him. We’re rooting for him throughout the rest of one of the roughest, toughest, shoot-em-uppest westerns of all time.

We gladly signed on to Team Clint all because he waded out into the river and saved a stranded calf. (Check out the Novel Dog narration of the clip below.)


So… what’s your favorite Save the Cat scene?

In a movie or a book … Inquiring minds want to know!