Okay, we all know it. There are a LOT of great books on how to write, how to be inspired, how to be organized, how to promote your book, how to research it, how to get an agent or publisher to notice it, and on and on and on.
But what if you want to have just one book? One that you can sink your teeth into and use over and over again with every book you write? I’m sure different people have different books they would deem essential, but for me there is only one: James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel from the Middle.
Here’s what the description says:
A powerful secret, and a fresh approach to writing bestselling fiction!
What's the best way to write a "next level" novel? Some writers start at the beginning and let the story unfold without a plan. They are called "pantsers," because they write by the "seat of the pants."
Other writers plan and outline and know the ending before they start. These are the "plotters."
The two sides never seem to agree with each other on the best approach.
But what if it's not the beginning or the end that is the key to a successful book? What if, amazing as it may seem, the place to begin writing your novel is in the very middle of the story?
According to #1 bestselling writing teacher James Scott Bell, that's exactly where you'll find your story's heart and heat. Bell's "Mirror Moment" is the secret, and its power is available to any writer, at any stage of the writing process.
Bringing together years of craft study and personal discovery, Bell presents a truly unique approach to writing a novel, one that will stand the test of time and serve you all your writing life.
Now Mr. Bell has written many books on the craft of writing, and I have yet to find one that wasn’t excellent, but this one is my favorite. Here’s why:
1. It’s short. It doesn’t mess about with lots of filler. It gets right down to the how-to in easy-to-understand-and-implement instructions.
2. It works for any kind of writer, pantser, plotter or (like me) the hiker who knows where he’s going to start and where he’s going to end up and maybe three must-see sights along the way.
3. It assures me that my books will have good structure each and every time.
It took me eleven-and-a-half years (that’s years) to write my first book. Now I have commitments to write six books by March of 2019. I obviously have to have a plan and stick to it if I’m going to get everything done on time. My plan is to use Bell’s fourteen-point list from Write Your Novel from the Middle in order to plot my books quickly and efficiently. I have a blank template with each of the fourteen points on it. When I’m ready to start work on a plot, I start filling in that template and soon I have a story. Yes, there is still a lot of work to do and the story changes as I start uncovering more and more about it, but again, I end up with a supportable structure and don’t waste my time staring at my computer screen, wondering what to write.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I’ve used it to plot my last five or six stories, and they have been faster and far less painful to write than the ten that preceded them.
Give it a try!
How about you? Do you have a favorite book or method for getting a story put together?