Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Elements of Fiction Writing: Conflict and Suspense Paperback – December 1, 2012
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
James Scott Bell is the author of more than fifteen novels and a Christy Award winner for Final Witness in 2000. His fiction has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, and the Library Review. He's the author of Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure, Write Great Fiction: Revision & Self-Editing, and The Art of War for Writers. He writes for Writer's Digest magazine. Bell currently teaches fiction writing courses at Pepperdine University and is a regular on the conference circuit. His website is www.jamesscottbell.com. He lives in West Hills, California.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
If you want to improve your fiction writing, I would recommend Stephen King's On Writing and this book. To be fair though, I have done a minimal amount of writing.
Like many novice writers, I thought I could skate by on "instinct" and "creativity" without studying the structure of a story. I would just write whatever struck my fancy, and I had no idea why readers didn't like the result. But after studying this book, I know how to construct my stories to draw them in. If a scene isn't working, I know how to inject some "oomph" to keep things interesting. And I know how to plan it all from the get-go, before I waste months on stories that were doomed to be dull.
There are a few problems with this book that knock it down one star. First of all, there are a lot of typos that impede reading, especially in the block quotes. I puzzled over one passage for ten minutes before I looked up the original and found that a clause had been copy/pasted twice, making it completely nonsensical ("The bar is not the one Hemingway drank at, nor yet the one that claims to be the one he drank at, nor yet the one that claims to be the one he drank at, because they are both too expensive and full of tourists"). Secondly, either Bell wrote it piecemeal and shuffled the chapters around afterwards, or he expects you to have read his previous book(s). For example, he starts talking about the "Doorways of No Return" the chapter before he defines them, which left me very confused for a while.
Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book to aspiring writers of all genres. Bell writes thrillers, but the advice is solid whether you write escapist romances or heavy literary sagas.
He covers all that pertains to conflict: the structure of conflict, point of view in conflict, keeping conflict moving, conflict in subplots, flashbacks and backstory, inner conflict, conflict in dialogue, and the tools that are available to enhance or create conflict.
The auther then does the same with Suspense. He talks about cliff-hangers, stretching tension, dialigue, setting, style, and the putting it all together.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in writing a novel because conflict and suspense are what keep the reader reading.
I've written eight novels and novellas over the past seven years (Mystery, Suspense, YA Fantasy), and was already familiar with many of the concepts in this book. But I did pick up more than enough ideas to make it well worth the read.
I highly recommend this book.