So when NPR's Three Books was titled: Get That Book Deal, Three Books Tell You How, I was excited. Sarah Pekkanen suggested these titles: On Writing by Stephen King, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas and Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell.
Since I've already read and loved On Writing, I got the other two books.
The main thing I took away from Writing the Breakout Novel is that it requires hard work, perseverance and digging deep, deeper, deepest with character development and layered plotting during revisions.
Plot & Structure may not have the sexiest title, but James Scott Bell writes in the most accessible way. I feel like I'm sitting down with a good friend every time I open the book. A good friend who knows A LOT about writing.
I want to share one exercise in the book that I think will help clarify your novel's plot.
(From page 21 of Plot & Structure)
Fill in the blanks for your novel.
- My lead (main character) is a _______________.
- Her objective is to ________________________.
- She is confronted by ______________________ who oppose(s) her because __________________.
- The ending will be a knockout when _____________________.
According to the author, if you fill in the blanks, you'll have the skeleton for a solid novel.
What book about writing most inspires you?