I just read this book and the one about Super Structure that covers some of his points more thoroughly. It is a lot of information condensed into short books and I think I need about three repeat readings to get it settled in my head.
I really like how Bell approaches writing, like a craft that has many tools for us to use. I find his books about writing very helpful and comparing my two WIPs, I can now see why one works and one doesn’t. For the one that works, I unconsciously started with a structure like Bell recommends, the other just kind of hangs there.
One may not agree with his formulaic approach but if you find yourself wondering, if or why this book feels like it’s missing something, his advice about structure is a good starting point to see where a novel could be improved.
In a post last week I wrote about James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel From the Middle. Afterwards, AC Macklin raised a rather sensible question whose answer I had skipped over – what were the things of value I learned from this book? In my enthusiasm to talk about the book in general, I missed the useful details. So here they are…
Explaining the Value of Structure
There’s a quote from the book that I included last week – ‘Structure is translation software for your imagination.’ I think that quote, and what it represents, are very useful in understanding the value of structure.
Structure isn’t there to tell you what story to write or what ideas to discuss. It’s there to help you turn those ideas into something coherent and accessible, to fit your story into the form you’re writing in, whether it’s a novel, a screenplay or a haiku.
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