By Kelly Bridgewater
If you have been around the writing community for any length of time, all published and unpublished writers referenced James Scott Bells’s widely popular craft book, Plot and Structure. Although I haven’t completed the whole book, I have gotten through about 2/3s of it; it does contain a lot of helpful information.
Plot and Structure uses tons of examples from many different contemporary pieces to draw the writer in. Bell will explain an idea to you like using Raw Emotion to start the novel, but then he will show you an example of raw emotion from The Quiet Game by Greg Iles. Even though I haven’t read the book or even heard of the author, it doesn’t stop me from understanding Bell’s example.
Another great part of the book is the number of exercises that Bell includes in the book. It isn’t about you, as the reader, just skimming through the book, gaining insight. You actually get to jump right in alongside Bell and practice your own hand at improving your writing. If you forget how to do something that he asks you to do in the exercises, then just flip right back to the place in the book and review how he explained it.
Toward the end of the book, Bell also shows how to revise and polish your book. If that isn’t enough, then he has written another book entitled Revision and Self-Editing to focus on more ways to make the book even better.
I know this isn’t a long post, but this book does have a number of highlights and notes in the margin for me. I’m still working on studying it and trying to pull all the help I can get from the pages.
If you have read Plot and Structure, what is the item that has stood out for you?