James Scott Bell is one of the few authors that I collect. While I enjoy his fiction, I especially watch for his how-to books on the writing craft. He’s done his homework, put in the years, tested the waters — you name the metaphor, he’s got it under his belt. (Ha!)
Book Review: “Super Structure: The Key to Unleashing the Power of Story”
When I’m writing and get stuck somewhere, I need something to jog me out of the hole. And it varies: I may get stuck at the beginning, the middle or the end. Or even during the process of brainstorming an idea just to determine if it’s got enough story potential to bother with. Now, I’m more of a “pantser” than a “plotter” (if you write fiction, you know what I mean), but even I like to have a general bare-bones structure to guide me. I may scrap it and re-work it as I go, but if I don’t have something to shoot for, I end up bogged down in the Dead Marshes with no way out.
Between JSB’s Plot and Structure, Write Your Novel from the Middle and this newest, Super Structure, I’ve got the tools to get me going again. He packs these books full of examples from real books and movies. Seeing examples helps me a LOT. I also have in my library an array of his other books for specific issues like Conflict and Suspense, Dazzling Dialogue, Revision & Self-Editing, but I reach for these books on structure during the whole process.
Super Structure zooms in on the very essence of what about the shape of a story makes it engaging for readers. You’ll want to earmark the chapter where he strips structure to the bare bones (the five “tent poles” as he calls them) and then describes each piece. On the Kindle version, the table of contents is perfect for jumping right to the spot I need help with. I may yet also pick up the paper copy, as I do like to leaf through them in ways my Kindle doesn’t accommodate.
Hey, I’ve actually met the guy
I can’t recommend Jim highly enough. I’ve been in his classes, and he’s fantastic in person, too. Friendly, warm, knowledgeable and with a great sense of humor. Widely read in his preferred genres and many of the classics across the board. Encouraging and an excellent story coach. It’s a treasure when you find someone authentic, and Jim’s the real deal.
Pick up your own copy
Interested? Get a Kindle sample or purchase a copy by clicking on the book covers below.