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on 27 July 2015
A slim, read-in-one-sitting book containing one original-ish idea and several rehashed ones. The original-ish idea is that each novel has a ‘mirror-moment’ of reflection (what am I becoming? Or the odds that face me are overwhelming) at its centre, and this moment defines what the story is about and anchors all the scenes before and after it. Scott Bell doesn’t prescribe that you must start planning or writing with the mirror-moment. He suggests, however you work, know that moment is necessary and test your story against it. I found midpoint mirror-moments in the novels I’ve written, but I’m not sure the idea will be much help to me in planning the next one.
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on 2 October 2016
I can't recall when I bought this book on Kindle. Months, maybe a year ago. Maybe longer. An impulsive buy but until today I never got beyond that.
I'm a nonfiction writer by trade but contemplating NaNoWriMo... so I surfed through my library to see if anything might inspire me (counter the fear & sense of ridiculous of such an undertaking, more likely)
I found this. Write Your Novel From the Middle. Surely no more ridiculous than contemplating NaNoWriMo?..
So I read it. This afternoon. Swiftly. With increasing enthusiasm and head-nodding.
The idea is genius and simple to see
(1) how it would work - for the author
(2) make for a far more powerful novel - for the reader

Too late I started highlighting the flurry of wonderful tips and how to's.

Time to go make dinner and re-read the whole thing again, pulling from it everything I can.
(it's only 93 pages but I'm guessing I'll probably end up with almost as many ideas, helpful directions and inspiration..)

Suddenly NaNoWriMo doesn't seem so personally ridiculous after all...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 July 2014
I was curious about James Scott Bell's approach and took a punt on this book, based on the reviews. I think he is on to something with his approach. I have a novel outlined which has a number of themes which I want to explore. Bell's assumption that the best books and films, for that matter,have at their middle a defining 'moment' which shapes what goes before and sets the direction for what happens afterwards, is compelling. It set me thinking about my own novel outline and some scenes I have sketched. I realised that one of them is the defining mid-point moment and very quickly the order of events - up to now a bit of a jumble, started to take shape. It compliments the 'show don't tell' writing principle as well. This is not another 'blah blah whatever' book on writing. It deserves to be studied and thought about, (I've read it twice). Like other reviewers I believe it will change your perspective on how to construct and write a novel.
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on 1 February 2017
I wish I could have given this 10 stars - this book is beyond brilliant. I feel like a fog has suddenly cleared and the mysterious process of novel writing suddenly looks incredibly straightforward and very doable. Some other reviewers have said that the ideas in this book are "rehashed" - but it was new to me, despite reading several books about novel writing. I also loved that it was short - he just gives you the info and the examples you need to grasp the idea, without unnecessary waffle. I wish I'd had this book 20 years ago!
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on 12 January 2017
I read this through in one day, with reading sessions interspersed with the interruptions of daily life, but I had to know more. I had to mentally consume these details.

The writing style is pleasantly clear and concise, with no doubt as to the message being conveyed. I've read many writing guides and I feel this earns its place among the best.

From those beginning the craft to those who seek to polish their technique, this is a fantastic book to read. I've sought out Mr Bell's other titles based on my experience with this one.

Highly recommended!
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on 2 June 2014
As a writer, I welcome any approach that helps me to look at my work objectively. So I found this middle-out approach to building the structure of a story genuinely useful. It made me reassess what I knew about the private emotional life of the central character(s) and in so doing, find new and subtle ways to twist the plot. I would recommend it to any established or beginning writer who also values the creative benefits of objectivity.
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on 12 January 2018
Bought this 3 years ago but just got around to reading it. Apart from the advice to start from the middle of your novel, there are plenty of tips to improve fiction writing. The author certainly knows what he is talking about.
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on 26 March 2015
An interesting proposition form James Bell that I will have to work through to see how it works for me. I found myself reviewing my own favourites to see if what he was saying was right (as well as my own writing too, of course), and it is! It wu=ill significantly enhance my writing technique and as I have two novels in draft right now, I will add his take on successful writing into the 2nd draft a=stage to see what I can do to make my books even better. Thank you!
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on 1 June 2014
Whether you plot or storm through your MS like a there's a rocket up your butt, this will offer you something valuable. I love it and have referred to it many times since I purchased it and read it from front to back in two days.

I does exactly what it say on the cover/description so no need for me to repeat all that. If any of it appeals, rest assured it's delivered by James Scott Bell.
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on 6 December 2015
This book gave me the inspiration and confidence to get down to actually writing my books. I have always had a problem with the first few chapters and this book shows me how to get my story down on paper and then worry about the beginning. It's been a huge help to me. Highly recommended.
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