Plot & Structure written by James Scott Bell was published by Writer’s Digest Books in 2004. Its power-packed 234 pages present an exhaustive look into writing great plots and giving your novel or nonfiction book structure that will drag your readers through to the last page.
James Scott Bell writes suspenseful crime fiction and thrillers. He has also authored numerous books on the craft of writing.
Plot & Structure is crammed with the basics of writing great fiction, tried and true methods Bell employs, and quotes and information from other celebrated authors and editors. Each chapter takes things step-by-step in detail. And each chapter ends with some serious exercises to help you apply the principles of that chapter.
Here are a couple of meaty quotes from the beginning pages:
- The daily writing of words, once it becomes a habit, will be the most fruitful discipline of your writing life.
- The main difference between successful writers and unsuccessful writers is persistence.
Bell introduces you to his own “simple set of foundational principles” for success. It is his LOCK system. “Lock stands for Lead, Objective, Confrontation, and Knockout.”
He then explains each principle briefly:
- In the best plots, that Lead is compelling, someone we have to watch throughout the course of the novel.
- This character has an objective. A want. A desire…An objective can take either of two forms: to get something or to get away from something…Solid plots have one and only one dominant objective for the Lead character.
- The reason is confrontation. Opposition from characters and outside forces bring your story fully to life…Make things tough on him. Never let him off easy.
- …the ending must have knockout power…So take your Lead through the journey toward her objective, and then send the opposition to the mat.
In later chapters in Plot & Structure Bell goes into greater detail about each principle.
Plot & Structure delves into everything from what a plot is to writing killer beginnings, middles and endings. It offers premium advice on writing scenes, creating character arcs, plot systems and patterns, and plot problems (and cures).
The book ends with a detailed check list for your WIPs plotting, and a template for creating great back cover copy.
If you want an intense dig into learning about plot then Plot & Structure is for you.