Plot & Structure Review

By Brent King On April 28, 2014 Under Books, Reviews

Plot and Structure_optI purchased this book because I found the author’s eBook, Write Your Novel From the Middle, extremely helpful. I was not disappointed. This is one of the best books on writing I have purchased.

What Was at the Heart of the Book for Me?

Bell’s chapters on the beginning, middle, and ending of a novel were most helpful to me. For example, how to make a beginning irresistible, and how to make a middle pop. There is a shocking tip on endings that will make my books so much better, and a section on making characters likable. I also enjoyed the chapter on revisions.

What I Liked Best

One of my favorite thoughts in the book was write who you are, instead of the normal admonition, write what you know. The thing I enjoyed most about this book was Bell’s extensive instruction on how to stretch the tension and raise the stakes in a novel. His references to Dean Koontz’ writing are great too, since I love his prose.

How Has It Improved My Writing?

Bell’s LOCK and HIP acronyms, combined with the critique of Koontz’ scenes, have improved my understanding of how to craft a scene and storyline. As mentioned above, my ability to craft the beginning, middle, and ending of my novel (and its scenes) have increased because of Bell’s instruction.

What Makes This Book Different? 

I like Bell’s common sense approach to the art of writing. Writing well isn’t simple or easy, but Bell makes it’s underlying structure and disciplines clear. By clear I mean his writing style isn’t complex. It’s easy to understand and his format excels both for initial comprehension and ease of review.

Who Should Read This Book?

Bell has his finger on the pulse of what makes a strong storyline. There are some to which this will be “old hat”, but the vast majority will benefit from Bell’s practical approach. He’s a great teacher. Buy the book. You’ll see what I mean.


Title: Plot & Structure: Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish
Author: James Scott Bell
Pages: 240
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books
Released: October 6, 2004
See more on this book and author here.

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.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. AshleeW
    April 30, 2014
    4:10 pm #comment-1

    I had seen this title several times as a suggestion on other authors’ and agents’ websites, so finally bought it just last week!! I’m so glad to hear it’s a good one, and can’t wait to start reading it 🙂 Thanks for the review, Brent!

    • Brent King
      April 30, 2014
      5:41 pm #comment-2

      You’re welcome Ashlee! I’m just happy there are great teachers like Bell to bring us up to speed. I know you’ll like it.

Add a comment