Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Plot, Structure, and The Big Lie

I went today to look for a book that a friend requested for Xmas and in fact found two copies at the local bookstore. I went ahead and grabbed both of them, one for him and one for me. The name of the book is Plot and Structure by: James Scott Bell. He is a author who writers suspense, mystery, and historical fiction. I have a few other book in the series so I thought I would check it out. To my surprise I was totally sucked in after the first page or two. He begins by talking about how he became a writer and the First Rule of Writing:
  • "...writing can't be taught."
This is what he calls "The Big Lie" and goes on to give some examples of why he thinks this is true. He decided at the age of 34 (lucky for me, I still have a couple of years) that he wanted to be a novelist. He went to the local bookstore and got the two writing books that had been recommended to him the most:
He claims that these two books taught him how to write, what plot was, and that is the cornerstone of any good novel writing attempt. He then goes on to list the six things that one must do as a writer to discover what plot is and why it is so important to all of us.
  1. Get Motivated.
  2. Try Stuff.
  3. Stay Loose.
  4. "First get it written, then get it right."
  5. Set a Quota.
  6. Don't Give Up.
He covers each of this points with a paragraph or two and then goes into the meat of the book. He ends the introduction by putting forth questions to the people (writers) reading his book. I will exert the few line here so you will have something to think about;

"Are you ready now? Are you convinced of the Truth? Do you dream of writing novels with plots that keep readers up at night? Then come along. I'm going to do my very best to show you how."

The "Truth" he speaks of is that anyone can be taught to write if one applies themselves. Writing can be taught as he was taught from Mr. Block and Mr. Field's wonderful books.

I have always know I was going to be a writer. It is my Will and no matter what happens in life I do not feel quite right about it until the writing is done. It has always come natural to me. But some people need to learn the craft of writing from books, schools, mentors, and others. Where as some people just have the knack for it. Now I think the truth is neither of these approaches are "right" or any "better" than one another. These are just different approaches to the supreme craft we all find ourselves surrounded by.

Once I get more into this amazing looking book I will rant about it further, but for now I will leave you with another question;
  • What books, teacher, mentor, writer influenced you or gave you the strength to write?


Anonymous said...
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Brandon Eden on December 24, 2009 at 4:37 PM said...

Sounds like an awesome book.

To answer your question:... See More
The number one person who influenced me to start writing is Kurt Cobain. He inspired me to write music, songs, and poetry. It all grew from there.

Check out what it turned into:

bradleycarroll on January 12, 2010 at 6:59 PM said...

How to Write a Damn Good Novel (and HWDGN II) are great, great, great. If nothing else, the concept of getting your premise is alone worth the price.

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