Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Books on Writing

This semester I read a helpful book, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. He passes along a lot of writing wisdom. Today, I'm going to focus on his simple plot method LOCK.
LOCK consists of
  • a Lead (character/protagonist),
  • an Objective (character has a desire/want that is crucial to their well-being),
  • a Confrontation (opposition from characters and outside forces), and
  • a Knockout (ending must have knockout power).
Bell states there really is only one plot: a Lead with an intense objective, thrust into confrontation, runs through the story until it ends. He also makes the point that all plots are character-driven. While basic, these ideas are true and thus all writers need to be aware of them.

Bell also gives tips about characters (living, vibrating, human beings are still the secret and magic formula of great and enduring writing), settings (set your scene in places that are fresh), dialogue (helps create original characters and move the plot along and characters need unique ways of speaking), and scene selection (use fresh ideas).
Stay tuned this spring/summer for more Bell wisdom.

In the meantime, what books on writing have helped you? How? Why? :)


  1. I read Bell's book -- he changed how I look at crafting my story. I also got to hear him speak in a webinar recently. He seems to be a nice guy.

    MM the Queen of English

  2. Interesting, queenofenglish! Helpful and nice! Who knew? :)

  3. I have a library of novel writing books. Probably my favourites that I most often dip into are:

    On Writing - Stephen King
    On becoming a Novelist - John C Gardner
    On writing - E M Forster

  4. Thanks, Bluestocking Mum! I'll check them out!