- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 5 edition (October 6, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 158297294X
- ISBN-13: 978-1582972947
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 375 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish 5th Edition
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About the Author
A former trial lawyer, James Scott Bell is the award-winning author of numerous thrillers, including the Ty Buchanan series (Try Dying, Try Darkness, Try Fear). He is also the author of two other popular writing books: Revision & Self-Editing, and The Art of War for Writers. A frequent teacher and keynoter at writing conferences, he resides in Los Angeles.
Top customer reviews
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As a writer, I am a "seat of the pants" guy, who's reluctantly recognized it isn't working for me (a major motivation for getting this book). Bell's discussion of different styles of outlining, though brief, gave me ideas of how to proceed. While I've often read books that include exercises, I confess to rarely doing them -- Bell is an exception (no, I didn't do *all* of them, but.... :) ). His text uses plenty of examples, drawn from movies and well-known novels. I've read other works on plot and structure (both general books and at least two dedicated to these topics), and have found this one to be by far the most readable, instructive, easy-to-digest, and *helpful.*
I have a few instructional writing books I reread; this is one of them.
Plot & Structure works for writers who don’t use outlines and for those who do. Throughout Bell acknowledges and addresses how his ideas about plot and structure can be used by all writers. This isn’t a “my way or the highway” kind of book. Bell gives practical advice for all writers.
What’s so great about Plot & Structure? The biggest plus is Bell’s practical and down to earth strategies and clear explanations.
Here are the other greats:
Bell’s approach isn’t a how-to formula; it’s more of a guide. His genre is thrillers, but he addresses the needs of other genres as well as those of literary fiction.
He provides many strategies writers can use to approach plot and structure; plus, he encourages readers to find their own way of working.
The exercises at the end of the chapters are practical. If you try some of them, you’ll discover that they aren’t busywork but helpful approaches to solving writing issues.
Unless you’re a pro with so many publications behind you that you don’t need help, this isn’t a book to read once and put away. It’s a book you’ll come back to and get more out of with a second or third reading.
If you want a formula or step-by-step program, this isn’t a book for you. He gives choices so you can find you own style and way of working. Which is one of the things like I about the book. It’s like going to a writer buffet and choose the strategies that work for you.
If you are someone who writes without an outline, you are going to be surprised because Bell doesn’t leave you out of any of the equations. He has strategies for all writers.