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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

James Scott Bell Wants What?!

James Scott Bell is an author that I learned a great deal from before I read one of his books. I soon learned he is also an excellent author. I took classes and read his columns on Writer's Digest's website and studied carefully those published in their magazine. And they improved my writing and my editing skills.

In case you don't know who he is, he is the author of one of my favorite and frequently
referenced books on writing, Plot & Structure, which has remained a best seller for writers for years. He also writes thrillers, which is an apt name for his stories. His novella, One More Lie, was the first self-published work to be nominated for an International Thriller Writers Award. Yes, you read it right: self-published! He is a man for all seasons and a man worth paying attention to.

Bell had the good fortune to study under Raymond Carver, renown for his short stories, at the University of California where he honed his craft. I recommend several of his Writer's Digest books, including: Conflict & Suspense, Revision & Self-Editing for Publication, and The Art of War for Writers. He taught writing at Pepperdine University and is a frequent speaker at writers' conferences around the world.

This week he included a list of things he looks for in his own work and the work of others on The Kill Zone website, where he is in the company of other excellent mystery/thriller writers. This is a website I highly recommend whether you write romance, literary, mysteries, or other genre fiction. The contributions from the authors on the site are valuable reads and will highly influence and improve your writing skills.

Here is the list of the 9 areas he considers important - Be forewarned, they are deceptively simple hurdles - and a link to the complete article: 

§  A Lead we absolutely bond with and root for
§  A touch of humor
§  Heart and heat
§  Death overhanging (physical, psychological, and/or professional)
§  Vindication of the moral order
§  Surprise, things we haven’t seen before
§  Twists and turns
§  A knockout ending
§  A style with a bit of unobtrusive poetry

To find a list of his books and more information,

 Write Like You Mean It!    Mahala

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