Happy Sunday everyone!
Welcome to Part 5 of the 15 part writing series based on Blake Synder’s Save the Cat! In this post, I am the fourth beat known as the debate. This beat directly relates to the previous one, the Catalyst, which is essentially the protagonists’ Call to Adventure. The Debate is when the character refuses the call or questions their ability to embrace the destiny before them.
Many popular movies and novels feature this beat. For example, in The Hunger Games, the Debate is when Katniss, after having volunteered as tribute in place of her sister Prim, is on the train to the Capitol, wondering how she is every going to win against the twenty three other competitors. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s when Rey decides not to sell BB8 and instead help Finn bring him to the Resistance. Throughout the film, she is consistently debating whether or not she should fully answer the Call to Adventure. This changes when Rey meets Kylo Ren and discovers that she has an incredible power.
Another famous example of the Debate section is when Harry Potter, after finding out he is a wizard, accompanies Hagrid to Diagon Alley and discovers just how out of place he is in the Wizarding World–and how that makes him a target.
The Debate beat may seem superfluous, but characters need to have that doubt, to question things, before crossing into their new world.
Next week, check back for beat number six, Break Into Two.
Until next time, kill your darlings, slay your dragons and keep writing!
Part 1- Opening Scene
Part 2- Theme-Stated
Part 3- Set-Up
Part 4- Catalyst