Kick the Dog and Save the Cat

        Kick the Dog and Save the Cat

“Say what?….”

(No cats or dogs were harmed in the making of this post.) 

If you’re struggling to come up with ways to introduce your protagonist or antagonist this may help. 🙂 (Remember you don’t have to use these in order to create a compelling character, these are are just helpful tips on what may help you create a good character.)

“Save the Cat” moment 🐱

What is this? 

-This is a moment that usually features the protagonist doing something heroic or selfless that the audience, want to follow or root for the hero.

-It’s done to help the audience connect with the protagonist.

-It’s a common way used to introduce the protagonist or remind the audience why the character is the protagonist.

Why is it called Saving the Cat?

The title, “Saving the Cat,” calls back to a common heroic deed, saving a cat from a tree. This relates to the definition of this term, ” a hero or person doing a heroic deed.”

How do I write this? 

When you write this, the goal in mind shouldn’t be to have the character do a random good deed just to look good.

In other words, don’t just have the character donate to an orphanage or beat up a random bad guy.

The good deed your character does has to be in character.

A way I would best explain this is that a firefighter won’t fly a plane to safety, (unless he’s a firefighter and pilot, and in that case, please tell me when that’s story is done, I’d love to read it.) In most cases the character is just a regular firefighter, so the firefighter would probably put out a fire, or rescue a cat from a tree.

“Kick the Dog” moment 🐶

What is this? 

-This is a moment that makes us hate the antagonist, and/or shows why he or she is the antagonist.

-This is a commonly used way to introduce the antagonist.

Why is it called a “Kick the dog” moment? 

-Unlike saving the cat, which could be a bit of the run of the mill do-gooder moment, a kick the dog moment is generally meant to be more shocking, or evoke emotion from your audience.

– Dogs are typically considered innocent creatures, so the act of kicking one of these nice creatures is shocking and cruel, which sort of capsulizes how a kick the dog moment invokes strong feelings from a negative act.

How do I write this? adult blur business close up

(Well to start, it’s kind of like the polar opposite of the “Saving the Cat” moment.)

The goal of using this moment is to show why your antagonist is the antagonist or villain, and why the audience should root for him or her.

So, when you write this scene have your character do something so malicious, or terrible, it’ll evoke a strong emotion from your readers.

HOWEVER, don’t forget to keep your antagonist in character, that means not just putting in a random atrocious act for the sake of shock value. If you do, it’ll come off strange, like a firefighter being able to fly a plane all of a sudden.

Or, it’ll just be evident you just trying to get a reaction, and not write a well-balanced character.

So, to avoid this mistake, remember to have the antagonist do a fiendish act that sounds like something your character would actually do.

EXAMPLE: These guys are all villains, but their personalities and ways are different.

That’s all for now, thank you for reading!

Was this post clear enough, or did I leave out any crucial details, comment below, I’d like to know your thoughts. Until next time! 🙂


3 thoughts on “Kick the Dog and Save the Cat

  1. Pingback: 5 Quick Ways To Make Your Protagonist More Solid

  2. Pingback: Save the Dog, Kick the Cat – Avis Sketches Stuff

  3. Pingback: How to write emotional scenes – Fularrii

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