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Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish (Write Great Fiction) [Paperback]

James Scott Bell
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Jan 2005

Craft an Engaging Plot

How does plot influence story structure? What's the difference between plotting for commercial and literary fiction? How do you revise a plot or structure that's gone off course?

With Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure, you'll discover the answers to these questions and more. Award-winning author James Scott Bell offers clear, concise information that will help you create a believable and memorable plot, including:

  • Techniques for crafting strong beginnings, middles, and ends
  • Easy-to-understand plotting diagrams and charts
  • Brainstorming techniques for original plot ideas
  • Thought-provoking exercises at the end of each chapter
  • Story structure models and methods for all genres
  • Tips and tools for correcting common plot problems

Filled with plot examples from popular novels, comprehensive checklists, and practical hands-on guidance, Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure gives you the skills you need to approach plot and structure like an experienced pro.


Frequently Bought Together

Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish (Write Great Fiction) + Write Great Fiction - Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints + Description and Setting: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Believable World of People, Places and Events (Write Great Fiction)
Price For All Three: 30.51

Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 5 edition (28 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158297294X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582972947
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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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 (Learn More)
First Sentence
I wasted ten years of prime writing life because of the Big Lie. Read the first page
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Concordance
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential plotting guide for all writers 18 Nov 2007
By J Smith
Format:Paperback
I've read many books on plotting and structure, but this is probably the best so far. It doesn't offer a miracle cure for ailing plots, or promote a magical formula for coming up with the perfect novel, or divulge any flashy techniques - instead, it provides a nuts-and-bolts, back-to-basics guide to developing a strong foundation for your novel.

It has to be said that a lot of books on writing can come across as quite patronising - not so here. The book has a very friendly tone and puts its points across in a simple, straightforward manner that's always easy to read and often quite entertaining. There are many tips and exercises, all of which are practical and useful.

I read this before embarking on my current project, but I imagine it would be useful whatever state your novel's in, as many of the hints and tips can (and should be) applied throughout the whole novel-writing process. My copy is already covered in highlighter pen and scribbled notes in the margins, and I have no doubt that I'll be returning to it again and again. I see this book as an essential reference guide to the craft of plotting, and would encourage anyone who's serious about novel writing to invest in this. If you only buy one book on plotting and structure, I'd make it this one.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fiction writer's roadmap 5 Nov 2006
Format:Paperback
If your goal is to write and sell fiction, this book will guide you.

It gives a valuable overview of good structure, identifies all the key elements, then provides you with a 'toolkit' of methods for structuring your own work, and tackling problem areas. Some books just tell you what to do, this book also tells you how to go about it.

It's well laid out, well signposted, includes examples from popular novels, and provides exercises to help cement the learning points.

Reading it is like sitting with a friendly expert who is willing to pass on all his experience, and who encourages you to apply it to your own work. It's the best book on writing I've come across so far.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and practical 25 Jun 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You will be taken by the hand on a step-by-step journey to write a good book.
Bell is a very sympathetic and empathic writer. He is thorough, and most of all an enabler.
He said that he had believed the Big Lie, i.e. writers are born; fortunately he passes on his skills extensively so you can allow yourself to learn the technique of efficient plotting to become a good writer and not believe the Big Lie that there are only privileged writers born with their skill.
Following this book, you too will penetrate the secrets of good writing and its creative pleasure. You will feel satisfied with a good structure for your novels. (He said that people who came to him for advice sold their own books!)
Have confidence in James Scott Bell, you will want to write following his pieces of advice.
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67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on the subject I have ever read! 8 Nov 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is simply wonderful! I read a lot of 'how-to' books and most of them are a waste of money. Worse, they are a waste of your time. Not so this one. I've done courses as well, but most teach you the art of the short story. When it comes to novels, though I am not exactly a novice with the written word there were some elements to my style that were lacking. Not so now!
The book is well written, easy and informative. It covers all the important elements of the craft in a clear and concise yet entertaining way. I won't bore you and list what those are - there's no point for I would have to write a novel here to list them. You are better off buying the book and discovering them for yourself. I simply cannot say enough good things about this book - it highlighted my strengths and my weaknesses so that I can now work to correct them. Sorry if I sound over enthusiastic but I feel as though I've found a rare treasure - an educational book that does precisely what it says it will.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin - wonderful! 10 July 2009
By Seraph
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is everything I hoped it would be. I've recommended it to fellow aspiring writers I know.

Some great practical tips on how to get your plot started and ways to keep your ideas on track. It uses novels and films to clarify plot techniques and offers exercises at the end of each chapter.

I found the 'to outline or not to outline' part particularly useful in helping me decide which method works for me.

I have this by my side constantly as I soldier on with my first novel.

My first "how to write" book and worth every penny.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Giorgia
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book. Whether you aim at writing commercial (plot driven) fiction, or literary (character driven) fiction, this book will be a useful read.

Extremely practical in its excercises, it is a particurarly useful tool for those who somehow, get lost in their own plots.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good indeed 9 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback
I teach novel writing. I found this to be a highly readable and exceedingly helpful book for those who want to take novel writing seriously. A few too many references to cinema plots, but essentially the best book I have read on the subject. Recommended
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most constructive. 22 Oct 2012
By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Asset...
Plot and Structure has become a brilliant asset in my writing world... I find it very useful, informative, and clearly structured.
Published 16 days ago by AngelJane
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!
the product arrived on time and in good condition, i really want to be an authoer one day and this book has everything for writting needs! Read more
Published 2 months ago by cyrus law
5.0 out of 5 stars good tool
I found this well worth the money & the read, I've gone through it with a fine tooth comb & gotten something out of it at each reading.
Published 5 months ago by Dawn
3.0 out of 5 stars Write, write, write.
Se useful techniques but if you are reading many of this kind of book, one of my faults, then you are not doing what you should be, actually writing. Read more
Published 5 months ago by William J. Fox
5.0 out of 5 stars Plot and structure
I loved this book, not only for the exercises they make you think but for the easy, no nonsense language of James Scott. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. Margaret G. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear straightforward advice.
I am so pleased I purchased this book, for it has helped me get my head in the right place. I write historical fiction but was getting bogged down in research this book got me to... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Babs Nye
5.0 out of 5 stars Very inspirational!
Chose this book after reading various reviews on different websites. It is just what you need for a bit of motivation and inspiration to get you started :-) all the examples are US... Read more
Published 8 months ago by sam raven
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful
One of the best books I've read on the subject of properly structuring a novel.
It's easy to read without being patronising (the opening passage is a notable exception) and... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
This book was really useful in helping me develop a plot for a book I am writing but I wish i had bought the hard copy
Published 11 months ago by Michaela Stevenson
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful guide
Overall a useful introduction on the subject. I am sure I learned sometime, just not sure what!
It did ramble a bit and I think the essential juice could be squeezed into a... Read more
Published 11 months ago by AgentMulderUK
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