Monday, March 30, 2009

The Plot Thickens......

or at least we hope it does.

Belinda here.

As writers we hope the plot is enough to sustain a whole book. Plotting is not one of my strongest gifts, but I'm learning. And I'm getting some great help. Besides cp Missy, I'm reading a book. It's by James Scott Bell. It's called Plot and Structure. If you visit his website click on the "writers" tab and you'll see the book. If you click on the book you can order it from Amazon. If you don't have this book, I strongly recommend that you read it at some point. It is helping me tremendously with my non-plot I have not happening in my book. It's easy to understand and relate to. There are helpful exercises at the end of each chapter, also. Doing one of them has lent a new insight to my current manuscript. Yeah!!

He also has a new writers book out titled Revising and Self-Editing that I'm excited about buying. I know it's going to be a great help when I get to that part of the writing process.

Usually I don't learn well by reading how-to books. That's why I like this book so much. I understand what he's trying to say. Now the hard part. To execute it!

Are there any how-to books you'd like to share? Any that have helped you out and would recommend to other writers? We'd love to hear about them.


  1. Lindi,

    I'm currently reading his Revising & Self-Editing book and it is really helpful. It's so easy to attribute to one's own work. Some of it is stuff I've heard before, but maybe not in the same light has he gives it. I'll have to try the one you're reading.

  2. The BEST EVER...inspirational, as well as how-to book would be ...........drum roll........................... The Big Red Betty Croker Cookbook...........

  3. I've been wanting to get JSB's Revising and Self-editing, just haven't gotten around to it yet. Unfortunately, I don't learn real well from books. That's not to say that I don't get anything from them, I guess it's just the way my brain is wired.

  4. I also felt that Plot and Structure was very helpful and I am currently reading his Revision and Self Editing. This one's great because he hits on plot again, but also all the other elements.

    Brandilynn Collins' characterization book is another I'd recommend as well as either of Nancy Kress's characterization books.

    I borrow as many as I can through the library system and then buy the ones I really like. Sometimes it takes a couple read-throughs, at different times in my wip, for gems to pop out!

    Another good basic is Goal Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon.

    Happy new week!

  5. This might surprise you, but Florence Littauer's "Personality Plus" helped me the most with characterizations! He really defines the four basic personality types, from weaknesses to strengths. It's helped me to flesh out my characters and have them act 'in character' in my books!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  6. I just heard about a new one I don't have yet. But the title was tossed out on a Harlequin/Silhouette loop I'm on the other day when someone asked about upping conflict. I'm dying to get it now!

    The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life by Noah Lukeman.

    Anonymous (maybe Cuz Wendy??) :), I love the big red cookbook!!! I use it more than any other. Especially for the basics.


  7. Jenn,
    I'm glad you're giving the thumbs up on the revision book!! Yeah!

  8. Cuz,

    That big red cookbook is amazing, isn't it? And you're's inspirational! I just never thought of it that way.

  9. Mindy,
    Like you, I'm not one to learn from reading a book...but James Scott Bell can use terminology and phrasing so I understand it.

  10. Debra,
    Thanks for the recommendations. And the library is a good way to sort them out and see what works for you before you buy. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Diane,
    I've never heard of the book Personality Plus but it sounds great. Thanks for sharing it. Sounds like a book I would benefit from reading.

  12. Missy,

    Funny---the book you recommend is the title of this post...Hmmm...let me know how you like it. I've heard that name Noah Lukeman before---I think? Has he done any other writing books?

  13. Lindi, yes, he has done at least one other. But I'm drawing a blank on the title right now.