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Friday, April 22, 2016

Scene and Structure: Jack M. Bickham

By Kelly Bridgewater

In two past blog entries, I have included two of my favorite writing books. Story Trumps Structure by Steven James and On Writing by Stephen King. Today, I want to talk about a book that I am still working with on a daily basis and hopefully soon, I will master. Most writers do not enjoy mathematics in school or in daily life. But I’m an exception. I really enjoyed Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus. Besides reading in class, I loved figuring out math problems, not story problems; I can’t do those.
From Amazon

As a budding writer, I have a hard time understanding how a scene goes together. Why internal dialogue? Why do you need to know the other character’s facial and body expressions to understand the story? When reading, I understand it completely. But as the writer, I have a hard time including that in my writing. I create the emotions from the main character’s perspective for each scene, but the Stimulus-Internalization-Response sequence confuses me. I have a really hard time with Deep POV too. I have read and studied Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s book on the subject. But once I sit down to include it in my writing, it doesn’t happen.

In Scene and Structure, I have many, many underline parts and post-it notes. I have even done the exercises over and over. I have taken the exercises to Susan May Warren and Steven James’ books, trying to figure out how this works. The analytical side of my brain doesn’t comprehend how this flows together. As I enter contests, the biggest comment I receive from the judges is that I don’t do Deep POV well, but I can’t get my brain to understand this. I need someone to mentor me in this because I sure can’t understand this.

Anyways, Bickham includes weaving subplots into the main story line. He uses examples from popular literature. Even if you aren’t familiar with the story, you will be able to understand his examples.

Some writers may find this book to complex, but I really enjoy reading and studying this book. It is more detailed and explained than most writers probably want when reading a writer book to improve their craft. I just wish there was more like this.


Did you enjoy math in school? Have any suggestions or clues to help this Deep POV struggling writer to figure this out? I would gladly start a discussion on this and take advice. 

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