Blog buddy Lydia Sharp highly recommends
Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder as an instructional resource for all sorts of nifty writing tools like tag lines and pacing. The title is explained in a character development section. You have an unapproachable, bitter, or otherwise unlikeable character who is actually a good guy. The first inkling of inner goodness comes in the save the cat moment, when this character runs into the burning building to rescue the cat from certain incendiary death. Through one act of kindness, this person is now redeemable in the context of the story.
Well, cats and kittens, I have my very own real life Save the Cat story! For realz!
An acquaintance/BFF/relative (anonymous person) I know has been dating a guy who insists on acting like a teenaged asshat a lot of the time. To the point that people who know better (me and all her other friends) are killing the sacred cow and advising her to be rid of him.
So she got engaged. C'est la vie, right?
A week ago she received a phone call from someone claiming to represent an attorney seeking to claim an outstanding debt. Should she ignore/refuse said debt, she faces jail time. BUT. Lucky her. They would settle for a bank draft...immediately...and consider the matter clear.
Our heroine did not just fall off the turnip truck. She knows something is fishy but is concerned about identity theft. So she wastes a goodly portion of the workday contacting her bank, credit card companies, and credit agencies to get to the bottom of the matter. Turns out the whole thing is a scam designed to intimidate people into getting robbed.
Since she has a phone number for this "attorney", she traces the number to California. Eureka, California. She alerts the appropriate authorities in Eureka and the Great State of California but is none too optimistic that anything will happen to shut this shady operation down.
So. The formerly mentioned asshat calls the number. He somehow hacks into their voicemail system. He changes the outgoing message to say:
"If you received a call from this number it is a scam. Do NOT send them money. Do NOT give them any information about your bank or your router numbers. You do not owe these people money. They are THIEVES."
And then, for good measure, he changes the password so they can't get back in to their own voicemail. It has now been their outgoing message for several days. Boo-YAH!
He is getting phone calls from many a grateful soul who were terrified they faced some prolonged legal battle or emptying their liquid assets in an effort to avoid jail. He is now promoted from asshat to asshelmet.