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Write Great Fiction - Plot & Structure Paperback – Oct 6 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 5 edition (Oct. 6 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158297294X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582972947
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 399 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #55,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

A former trial lawyer, James Scott Bell is an award-winning author and frequent speaker at writing conferences.


Inside This Book

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Top Customer Reviews

By Ned Middleton TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 24 2012
Format: Paperback
This review is based on personal experience and is penned in a bid to help other aspiring writers.

I have been writing about scuba diving and shipwrecks for several years (my first piece appeared in 1978!), and my books have won awards. That genre, however, involves research and describing whatever I find underwater.

Quite separately, for many years I have been working on a novel only to discover Fiction is not as easy as it might appear - even for a modestly successful writer such as myself. Fiction is not about my ability to tell a particular story. Instead, it requires me to learn how to weave intrigue into the everyday life of the central character so that the reader WANTS to continue reading. For example, a Memoirs or Biography is the retelling of a series of events - year by year, as they happen to the subject of the work. The life of a fictional character, however, cannot be a series of stories without the addition of unanswered questions and other events of which he is unaware (the intrigue!) along the way. In my case; yes I have a central plot, yes there is sex and violence (in moderation!) and yes the outcome is exciting. That however, is not enough and is why I have found myself starting and shelving the book over many years.

Finally, I recently purchased a number of books about writing techniques and the various lessons I need to learn. I am studying each in turn and each will be reviewed in time.

As the cover of `Write Great Fiction - Plot & Structure' by James Scott Bell suggests, this book gives an insight into "Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish." Already, I have learned a great deal and would suggest any would-be author of Fiction should study this excellent work.
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Before purchasing this book, I had borrowed a copy from the local library and read it. I was skeptical initially, because I always thought that plotting was my strong point in writing and I probably wouldn't need a book to tell me more about it. Boy, I was wrong! There are so many things I learned from this book that it has improved my writing tenfold. The author shows us how to make each scene, each chapter full of tension and suspense, and to weave this in and out in a such a way as to make the entire book unputdownable.

When I had the library copy with me, I found myself making plenty of notes based on the tips provided. Then I said to myself that I might as well get my own copy so that I save the time spent on note-taking and use it for actually writing something!

I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to take their writing a notch (make that several notches) higher.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this and would recommend it to any beginner. I've got the others in this series lined up ready to go and I hope they help me out as much as this one did.

Though I've got hundreds of scene ideas noted down, I'm just starting out to actually do something with them really, I learn t a least a dozen l more things to help refine my structure especially in the areas of making a page turner. My copy now has loads of bookmarks and highlights I expect to refer back to regularly. I probably won't do all the exercises, just the ones that appeal to me for my goals. The rest of the book is more interesting to me.

I don't know if what is in here is old news to experienced writers, but if something isn't working for your draft, perhaps worth take a look.
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Format: Paperback
As an aspiring writer, this book helped me structure my story. If you want a book that will teach you beginings, middles and ends, and where in your story each begins and ends, this is the one for you. The tips were very helpful and the book was well written.
This is one of the best books I've read in fiction writing.
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Format: Paperback
Beginning your very first novel may require some guidance, especially if you plan on taking it beyond the confines of your immediate social circle. If you're not sure how to go about coming up with a plotline for your novel and how to structure it, Bell's 'Plot & Structure' is not a bad way to start.

Bell's style is very straightforward and friendly. He introduces some tried-and-true concepts that have worked for professional authors, but also provides his own take, including his LOCK system for devising a well-structured story that should keep a reader interested. His ideas work well for those who want to write in the bestseller or genre fiction style, but they can be applied to literary novels as well. There is no attempt to dictate a standard procedure for plot writing and Bell tries to be accommodating to every style of author, from the pre-planner to the free-wheeler.

He also provides practical exercises for the budding writer to follow, so there's lots to do in getting the process moving.

For more experienced writers, this book may be too basic and it does not delve deeply into the finer points of plotting structure. But as an overall guide for new writers, it fits the bill.
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