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Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish Paperback – 28 Jan 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

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

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: F&W; 5 edition (28 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158297294X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582972947
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

A former trial lawyer, James Scott Bell is an award-winning author and frequent speaker at writing conferences.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 22 Oct. 2012
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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