James Scott Bell
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About James Scott Bell
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JAMES SCOTT BELL is a winner of the International Thriller Writers Award and the author of many bestselling thrillers. He is a popular writing instructor and conference speaker, and formerly served as the fiction columnist for Writer's Digest magazine. Jim attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied writing with Raymond Carver, and graduated with honors from the University of Southern California Law School. He lives and writes in L.A. and blogs weekly at Kill Zone -- www.killzoneblog.com
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Titles By James Scott Bell
Mike Romeo is helping a reformed gang member protect a girl rescued from a sex trafficking ring. When the girl is kidnapped, Romeo sets out to find her—and plunges into a heart of darkness unlike anything he’s fought before.
The layers of this evil run deep in L.A., stretching from Skid Row to Malibu, from Little Guatemala to Beverly Hills. When the cops tell Romeo to back off, he only goes further in. Because Romeo has rules, the most important being: Always protect the children.
Now he is a man alone against all the forces of power, money, and influence in the city, forces able to kill anyone who gets in the way.
Until they meet Romeo.
Another pulse-pounding thriller in the hit series that is “sharp as a switchblade.” (Meg Gardiner)
"This book revolutionized my writing! I use it for every novel I write. Highly recommended!" — Colleen Coble, USA Today Bestselling Author
The reviews are in! See what thousands of writers have discovered in this ground-breaking approach to writing a novel:
"I love, love, love this book. It's to the point and explains things in a way that anyone can understand." – K. A.
"The best book for organizing your thoughts and getting from A to Z without freaking out." – S. K.
"This book, more than any other, brought to me the insight of what happens in the middle of a story." – L. W.
A powerful secret and a fresh approach to writing fiction that sells!
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.
"I need three things before I tackle a new novel: Diet Coke, a laptop, and my dog-eared copies of James Scott Bell's books on writing craft!” - Kami Garcia, #1 NYT Times & International Bestselling author
You may know the fundamentals of how to write fiction. You may be more than competent in plot, structure and characters. But if your dialogue is dull it will drag the whole story down.
On the other hand, if your dialogue is crisp and full of tension it immediately grabs the reader. And if that reader is an agent or editor, sharp dialogue will give them instant assurance that you know what you're doing as a writer.
Writing a bestseller or hot screenplay is no easy task, but dazzling dialogue is an absolute essential if you want to get there.
The best part is, the skills of the dialogue craft are easy to understand and put into practice. #1 bestselling writing coach James Scott Bell has put together and expanded upon the dialogue lectures from his popular writing seminars. In How to Write Dazzling Dialogue you'll learn:
- What fictional dialogue is ... and isn't
- The 11 secrets of crafting memorable dialogue
- The 5 essential tasks of dialogue
- 5 ways to improve your dialogue ear
- 4 can't-miss methods to increase conflict and tension in any dialogue exchange
- The top 10 dialogue issues, and how to resolve them
You'll also see dazzling dialogue in action with examples from hit novels and screenplays.
Don't sabotage your chances of selling your work to readers or publishers because the dialogue is unexceptional. Dazzle them with what the characters say. How to Write Dazzling Dialogue will give you the tools to do it.
How does plot influence story structure? What's the difference between plotting for commercial and literary fiction? How do you revise a plot or structure that's gone off course?
With Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure, you'll discover the answers to these questions and more. Award-winning author James Scott Bell offers clear, concise information that will help you create a believable and memorable plot, including:
• Techniques for crafting strong beginnings, middles, and ends
• Easy-to-understand plotting diagrams and charts
• Brainstorming techniques for original plot ideas
• Thought-provoking exercises at the end of each chapter
• Story structure models and methods for all genres
• Tips and tools for correcting common plot problems
Filled with plot examples from popular novels, comprehensive checklists, and practical hands-on guidance, Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure gives you the skills you need to approach plot and structure like an experienced pro.
As most writers will tell you, the hardest fiction form to master is the short story. To be successful, a short story needs to have "emotional wallop," and in under 7,000 words.
Not easy to do.
In this book, #1 bestselling writing teacher James Scott Bell explains the essential ingredient for a successful short story, no matter the genre. He shows how any writer—whether planner or "pantser"—can use this key to unlock infinite story possibilities.
And turn readers into fans.
Which is part of the strategy for short story writing today. With the coming of the digital revolution in publishing, short fiction presents possibilities beyond a one-time sale to a literary journal. Writers can use stories to increase discoverability, grow as a writer, generate some side income, and get back in touch with the sheer joy of writing.
This book uses examples from the best stories by undisputed masters of the craft, including Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Stephen King and Irwin Shaw.
In addition, five complete stories are included to show you the master key in action.
Once you've been through this book, even once, you'll be well on your way to crafting short stories that readers love—which will build your fan base and boost your long-term writing career.
Characters who "jump off the page."
Of course plot matters. So does conflict, and scenes, and every other aspect of the fiction craft. But without unforgettable characters, your books will always be less than they could be.
Don't let that happen.
In WRITING UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS you'll learn:
• How to lay the foundation for a memorable character
• How to bond the reader with the main character from the start
• The super power of unpredictability
• The secrets of grit, wit, and moxie
• How to bring your character to life on the page
• How and when to reveal backstory
• All about arcs and what they truly mean
• The key to unforgettable villains
• How to make minor characters memorable, too
• How to create a great series character
And more, PLUS the powerful exercises James Scott Bell has taught in his sold-out writing workshops.
No more flat stories! Give your readers what will turn them into career-long fans—characters who jump off the page.
Super Structure represents over two decades of research on what makes a novel or screenplay entertaining, commercial, original, and irresistible. Contrary to what some may think, structure is not a nasty inhibitor of creativity. Quite the opposite. Properly understood and utilized, structure is what translates story into a form readers are wired to receive it.
And it is only when readers truly connect with your story that they turn from casual readers into fans.
The material in this book greatly expands upon the chapter on structure in Write Your Novel From the Middle. Super Structure can be considered a companion to that book, but it also stands alone in its treatment of the elements of a solid and pleasing plot.
Here's more good news: Super Structure will work for any type of writer--those who like to outline, those who just fly by "the seat of the pants," and those who do a little of both. That's because Super Structure stresses the concept of "signpost scenes." There are fourteen signpost scenes, or beats, that can be used to create an entire plot, the skeleton of an idea, or a map to help you figure out what to write next.
Every signpost is given its own chapter and explanation, along with a section called "Helpful Hints for Plotters and Pantsers," showing you how to apply what you've learned and adapt it to your own style of writing.
Never write a weak novel or screenplay again. Super Structure is a proven foundation that never fails. It frees you to add your original voice and vision, all of which adds up to bestselling fiction and hit screenplays.
"I need three things before I tackle a new novel: Diet Coke, a laptop, and my dog-eared copies of James Scott Bell's books on writing craft!” - Kami Garcia, #1 NY Times & International Bestselling author
The keys to success as a writer are yours for the thinking!
All success begins in the mind. For writers, the mind fuels the imagination and creates stories. But for authors who are productive and resilient, and see a good return on their efforts, there is another factor at work.
They are winning the mental game of writing.
Successful writers have the ability to inspire themselves to produce consistently, improve systematically, overcome obstacles and keep up a positive mental attitude.
In this book, #1 bestselling writing teacher James Scott Bell takes you through the mental landscape of the successful author. He shows you not only how to stay on your game, but how to improve it. He gives you insights, strategies and techniques for blasting through walls and jumping over hurdles, setting you free to concentrate on what you love most – writing.
You'll learn how to define true success, formulate goals and plans, find courage and commitment to write, unleash your creativity and write with joy.
You'll also be given steps to handle challenges like stress, burnout, envy, expectations and the trap of comparison.
In short, you'll learn to get all your mental jets going full blast so your writing can reach new heights!
"I need three things before I tackle a new novel: Diet Coke, a laptop, and my dog-eared copies of James Scott Bell's books on writing craft." - #1 NYT Times Bestselling Author Kami Garcia
What are the secrets for writing a great ending for your novel? How do you leave readers so satisfied that they'll want another book by you—right now? What tools and techniques can shape your last fifty pages into a powerful, unforgettable experience?
In this book, International Thriller Writers Award winner and #1 bestselling writing teacher James Scott Bell reveals:
• The five types of endings.
• What needs to happen in Act 3.
• How to use the Ah and Uh-Oh emotional wallops.
• A simple technique for crafting twist endings.
• The most important secret of all—resonance.
• The Stew, Brew, Accrue, Do brainstorming method.
• The best way to tie up loose ends.
• The most common ending mistakes, and how to avoid them.
And more. Read this book and you will come away with a thorough knowledge of why great endings work and how to create them for every novel you write.
“This pure thriller with a roiling plot is not to be missed!” – Romantic Times
She thinks she knows who she is and what she wants, but when the web gets terribly tangled, is her game of deception a clever lie or a deadly trap?
Two bodies in an isolated canyon on the edge of L.A. One with saddlebags filled with diamonds.
That's how it begins for Liz Towne, a stunning blonde with a devout husband who has given up a prime job for reasons Liz cannot understand—for "Mac" MacDonald, a Gulf War vet who's done time in prison and is just now finding his way back to normal life—and for Roxanne "Rocky" Towne, Liz's sister-in-law, who suspects things she cannot prove. All three are thrown together by a tragedy in Pack Canyon.
After finding the stolen diamonds, Liz is faced with an escalating set of choices: Truth or lies? She is all in. No stopping now. Even if she wanted to … what else can she do?
A stunning suspense thriller from International Thriller Writers Award winner James Scott Bell.
Note: This book was originally published in 2009 with the title Deceived, and received the following reviews:
"Twist-filled suspense thriller with punchy dialogue and an ending to keep readers awake at night….Bell is a master of the cliffhanger, creating scene after scene of mounting suspense and revelation in this heart-whamming read.” – Publishers Weekly
“This pure thriller with a roiling plot is not to be missed!” – Romantic Times
"Help! My plot drags, sags, and has no heart!"
This looks like a job for Plotman!
Yes, solving your plot problems is why the superhero of story came to Earth. His mission? To give practical, easy-to-apply answers to the most vexing plot questions writers face, such as:
• How do I plan a plot if I'm not a plot planner?
• Does my plot need a prologue?
• What if I hit a plot wall?
• What if my plot is getting away from me?
• Why ins't my plot more gripping at the start?
• Why is my overall plot dull?
• What should I do if my plot is implausible?
• Do I really need to think about plot structure?
• How do I deepen the emotional impact of my plot?
• What's the best way to plug a plot hole?
• How do I keep my plot from ending with a thud?
With bonus material on how to find and utilize beta readers; and several plot generating methods you can put to use at any time.
Whether used as a reference guide or refresher course, this book will strengthen your storytelling muscles and help you elevate every novel you write. Because Plotman, along with his faithful sidekick Subplot Boy, has sworn to uphold plot, story, and the bestselling way.
Type Hard. Type Fast. Make Dough.
That was the formula of old-school pulp fiction—plot-driven, popular and gobbled up by a reading public hungry for more.
And it produced many writers who hammered out a living selling “cash-and-carry” stories and novels. Some of these writers were among the best America has ever produced. Writers like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and John D. MacDonald. Others are numbered among the bestselling authors of all time, including Erle Stanley Gardner, Lester Dent, and Frederick Faust (better known by his pen name, Max Brand).
What were the secrets of these successful pulp writers? And how can any writer, of any genre, use them to produce fiction that sells?
How to Write Pulp Fiction will teach you:
• how to be more prolific
• the secrets of pulp plotting
• how to elevate your pulp prose
• the fiction “formulas” of some of the best pulp writers of all time
• the bestselling genres
• how to harness the power of the series character
• the most effective publishing strategies
• how to market your pulp fiction
Added bonus! The Start-A-Plot Machine, a brainstorming partner that will help you instantly generate a story or novel idea. You’ll never again wonder what to write next.
There has never been a better time to be a writer. By tapping into the vibe of the pulp writers of old, and making use of the tools of publication available now, any hard-working writer has a serious shot at realizing steady income from their fiction.
“James Scott Bell is my go-to writing guru!” - Terri Blackstock, New York Times bestselling writer